KKR lands in Malaysia with $200m deal

The firm has taken a significant minority stake in Weststar Aviation Services, its first deal in the Southeast Asian country.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has invested MYR 642 million (€148 million; $200 million) in Malaysia’s Weststar Aviation Services as its first deal in the country, according to a company statement. The firm took a “substantial minority stake” in the business, but would not disclose further details of the transaction. 

Weststar provides offshore helicopter transportation services to the oil and gas industry in Southeast Asia. The business is based in Malaysia and serves customers including Petronas Carigali, Exxonmobil, Carigali Hess, CPOC and Talisman.

“We are very pleased to partner with a high-performing company such as Weststar. We believe trends in the oil and gas sector in Malaysia and the broader region are long-term positive, and we look forward to supporting the Company in its ambitious growth and expansion plans,” Ming Lu, head of Southeast Asia at KKR, said in a statement. 

Malaysia is a key target market for KKR… In our opinion it has differentiated demographics with a young and growing population, has its own natural resources, has a strong banking system with a relatively balanced economy, and strong opportunities for growth and productivity.

Ming Lu, head of Southeast Asia, KKR



KKR has recently ramped up its capabilities in Southeast Asia, opening a Singapore office in October 2012 and since investing in Indonesian foods business Tiga Pilar Sejahtera Food. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but KKR took a 9.5 percent stake and invested from a fund managed by its KKR Asset Management unit.  

Its investment in Weststar is KKR’s first in Malaysia and also represents its first closed transaction from the recently raised $6 billion KKR Asia Fund II, the firm said.  

“Malaysia is a key target market for KKR,” added Mr. Lu. “In our opinion it has differentiated demographics with a young and growing population, has its own natural resources, has a strong banking system with a relatively balanced economy, and strong opportunities for growth and productivity.”

However, KKR’s Asia fund is tapping opportunities across Asia Pacific. In September, the firm said had agreed a $1.67 billion buyout of the healthcare unit of Japanese corporate giant Panasonic. The firm is taking an 80 percent stake in the business, with Panasonic retaining 20 percent, and the deal is expected to close by the end of March 2014.