KKR, Weststar Aviation in RM650 deal?
MAIDEN MALAYSIAN FORAY: US private equity firm expected to buy 30pc stake in region's top helicopter services provider
United States private equity firm KKR & Co will buy a substantial stake in Weststar Aviation Services Sdn Bhd, the region's largest provider of helicopter services for oil and gas firms.
In a joint statement yesterday, Weststar and KKR said they will sign an agreement on a partnership today.
The price and stake involved were not disclosed, but it is understood that New York-based KKR will pay around RM650 million for a 30 per cent stake.
The deal will be KKR's maiden investment in Malaysia, having already invested more than US$1 billion (RM3.2 billion) in companies based in Southeast Asia, according to the statement.
KKR recently raised a US$6 billion Asia fund, the region's largest ever such fund.
Weststar is controlled by Tan Sri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, who is also involved in car trading.
Besides importing and distributing cars, Azman's flagship Weststar group has diversified into offshore aviation services via Weststar Aviation, which has more than 40 helicopters to serve 14 regional clients.
Its customers include Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and Exxon Mobil Corp.
In 2011, Weststar won a RM4.2 billion Petronas contract, and was reportedly seeking a listing on Bursa Malaysia next year.
Weststar is also the fourth largest operator of the AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters, according to the company's website.
Reuters reported that KKR, founded in 1976 by cousins Henry Kravis and George Roberts, has announced seven deals in Asia so far this year, investing in companies in Vietnam, India, China and Japan.
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