Wilbur Ross mulls rail, real estate, casino investments

Mon May 17, 2010 4:03pm EDT

* Ross considers investing in rail, real estate, casinos

* Says rail industry on the rise

NEW YORK May 17 (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross on Monday said his private equity firm was considering investments in rail cars, real estate and casinos.

Ross' private equity firm WL Ross & Co bought into railroad equipment supplier Greenbrier Cos (GBX.N) in 2009, and the two teamed up to buy a portfolio of nearly 4,000 railcars late last month.

"We're looking to buy more rail cars," Ross told Reuters on Monday, noting that there are plenty of rail car owners that are in or nearing financial distress.

In a separate interview, he told Reuters Insider that he expects the sector to perform well.

"Back in last summer a third of all rail cars were sitting idle," he said. "That's been cut in half now."

Ross said he was also interested in investing in other segments of the rail industry, including supply, as well as real estate related services like real estate brokerage, property management and mortgage origination.

In September, Ross told Reuters that he was actively looking at investing in the casino sector.

He said he was still looking at casino deals, but that the right investment had not yet presented itself.

"The industry is having great, great difficulties --the traffic figures are down, the handles are down, and the room occupancy is down," he told Reuters Insider. "We're still working on it. We identify areas that we think have promise, but if the values don't come to where we need them, then we don't do anything." (Reporting by Michael Erman, Megan Davies and Jennifer Rogers; editing by Carol Bishopric)