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Wilbur Ross to Put $1 Billion More in Distressed Ships

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross Jr. said he’s prepared to invest $1 billion more in the shipping industry, increasing his bet on distressed transportation assets to $2.5 billion.

“It’s within a few months of hitting the real bottom,” Ross, the 75-year-old chief executive officer of WL Ross & Co., said of the shipping industry in an interview today with Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” “We believe that by 2014 it will start to turn around. In a lackluster economy there will be scrappage of older, less-efficient ships and the new market will absorb these vessels.”

Ross, whose firm oversees $9 billion, has raised more than half of the $500 million he’s seeking for a new private-equity fund to buy distressed shipping and other transportation assets, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News earlier this month. Ross said there is room for competition as investment firms including Blackstone Group LP, Apollo Global Management LLC and Carlyle Group LP are seeking to invest in transportation assets.

“We’re all in different segments and it’s a huge industry,” he said. “There’s around $360 billion of vessels out there, so there’s plenty of room for more than one investor.”

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