KKR Invests $1.2 Billion in Westar Aviation and New Acquisitions

Andrew Klips  |

KKR & Co. LP (KKR) , a private-equity investment firm run by Henry Kravis and George Roberts with $83.5 billion in assets under management, dipped into its bank account on Wednesday; disclosing spending $1.2 billion in two transactions after the closing bell and its first foray into investing in Malaysia.

The earlier – and bigger – of the two news pieces announced that KKR was spending $1.0 billion to acquire The Crosby Group and Acco Material Handling Solutions from Melrose Industries PLC.  Based in London, England, Melrose buys manufacturing companies with the plans of improving performance and then selling them.

Both companies are involved in designing, manufacturing and marketing products used in lifting, rigging and material handling applications.  Crosby, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has more than 1,300 employees worldwide, a full catalog of products and is known for its iconic brands, such as Crosby, McKissick and National.  Crosby customers are largely in the construction, mining and oil and gas industries.

York, Pennsylvania’s Acco is a much smaller outfit with 130 employees.  It provides custom-built specialty equipment for manufacturers, such as hoists, industrial cranes, monorails and trailers sold under the brands Louden, Wright and Nutting.

“We are excited to partner with the many dedicated employees of both companies and look forward to working together to begin a new chapter of growth and global expansion,” said Pete Stavros, a member of KKR and Head of the Industrials investing team, in a statement.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

In a later piece of news, KKR said that it is spending 650 million ringgit (approximately US$203 million) to acquire a “substantial minority stake” in Weststar Aviation Services.  Weststar is a Malaysian company that provides offshore helicopter transportation services to the oil and gas industry, primarily in Southeast Asia.  Weststar owns a large fleet of modern helicopters and has a portfolio of blue chip oil and gas companies as clients, according to a joint statement from the companies.

“With KKR, we have a value-added partner who shares our vision of growing the Company into one of the world’s leading offshore helicopter services companies,” said Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, Weststar Group Managing Director.

KKR’s investment in Weststar represents its first investment from the KKR Asian Fund II, the recently-closed US$6 billion fund dedicated to pan-Asian private equity transactions.  Since 2005, KKR has invested about $1.5 billion in companies in Southeast Asia.

Shares of KKR closed Wednesday at $19.94, down 1.7 percent on the day.  So far in 2013, shares have risen about 46 percent.

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