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Avenue Capital’s Lasry Says Firm Invested in Shipping Industry

Avenue Capital Group LLC, the distressed-debt firm with about $12.6 billion of assets under management, invested “a couple hundred million dollars” in the shipping industry, according to co-founder and chief executive officer Marc Lasry.

Avenue has “been investing pretty heavily in shipping,” Lasry said today at a Turnaround Management Association event in New York. Investors have been calling “the bottom of shipping for the last five years,” he said. “Hopefully this year, it’s a good trade.”

The shipping industry has yet to recover from a global trade slump triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008 and the ensuing sovereign-debt crisis in the euro area.

As the industry has entered its sixth year of turmoil amid overcapacity and low freight and charter rates, European banks such as Commerzbank AG and HSH Nordbank AG are exiting or cutting down ship finance. Ship owners have been joining with private-equity companies and firms such as Avenue to invest in vessels.

Avenue, based in New York, was founded in 1995 by Lasry and his sister Sonia Gardner, according to the firm’s website.

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