REPORT: Weststar Group mulls helicopter unit IPO

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(PHOTO: Weststar)

The Weststar Group is considering an initial public offering of its helicopter services unit in Kuala Lumpur to raise at least US$300 million, according to a Bloomberg report, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The conglomerate, controlled by Malaysian businessman Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, has held initial talks with advisers on the listing of Weststar Aviation Services Sdn., which could happen as soon as next year, Bloomberg reported. Weststar Group is also looking to sell a stake of as much as 20 percent in the helicopter unit in a funding round before the IPO, seeking a valuation of nearly US$2 billion including debt.

Weststar Aviation, which is backed by buyout firm KKR & Co., is one of Southeast Asia’s biggest helicopter operators. The company owns 44 helicopters, of which 35 are AW139s, making it the second-biggest global operator of such aircraft in the world, according to the state-owned Malaysia Petroleum Resources Corp.’s website. Its clients include Petronas Carigali Sdn., Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips and Mubadala Petroleum LLC. The company has operations in countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Italy and Mauritania.

Weststar Group, founded in 2003, runs a wide range of businesses including aviation, automobiles, property and insurance, according to its website. The conglomerate had attempted to list the helicopter unit before, according to local media reports.

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