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Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim’s Weststar Aviation Services is flying high.

 Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim’s Weststar Aviation Services is flying high.

This tale is share of Forbes’ protection of Malaysia’s Richest 2023. Look the paunchy checklist right here.

Dilapidated Malaysian military officer turned entrepreneur Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim has mettlesome expansion plans for his Weststar Aviation Companies and products and its offshore choppers, whose customers already include oil giants esteem ExxonMobil and Shell.


Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim is firing on all cylinders. His privately held Weststar Team and its portfolio of pursuits in offshore helicopter products and services, car dealerships and F&B shops, is staking out a multi-pronged design to magnify its chopper hasty, accomplish inroads into original markets and boost sales of sustainable vehicles.

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The middle-piece of the conception is flagship Weststar Aviation Companies and products, which has 34 helicopters (it agreed to aquire 5 more in Could maybe maybe maybe), making it the second-greatest offshore products and services operator within the Asia-Pacific pickle, essentially based on India-essentially based market analysis company Imarc Team. Ibrahim, who based and owns the Ampang, Malaysia-essentially based Weststar Team, has lofty targets. “In ten years we desire to be the greatest helicopter operator on this planet,” he says.

Weststar’s choppers are used to ferry executives, crew and affords for the oil and gasoline industry, besides for pipe- and vitality-line inspections, trees surveys and medical evacuation, in most cases in areas that are inaccessible or complex to attain by other forms of transportation. It has bases in Southeast Asia, the Center East and Africa, and customers include Malaysian notify oil company Petronas and industry giants Shell and ExxonMobil. A separate unit, Weststar Overall Aviation, owns two jets and a helicopter for VIP transportation.

“In ten years we desire to be the greatest helicopter operator on this planet,” Ibrahim says. Flying over the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Jeffry Lim for Forbes asia

Ibrahim, 63, now owns 100% of Weststar Aviation Companies and products after shopping for reduction a 21% stake from non-public equity enormous KKR in March in a deal that he says valued the unit at 4 billion ringgit ($890 million). The entrepreneur, No. 24 on the checklist of Malaysia’s 50 Richest with an estimated come by rate of $825 million, serves as crew managing director of Weststar Team and chairman of Weststar Aviation Companies and products.

The world marketplace for offshore helicopter products and services is anticipated to magnify to $3.1 billion by 2028 from $2.5 billion in 2022, essentially based on a document from Dublin-essentially based Analysis & Markets. Ibrahim’s conception involves investing $250 million to expand the quantity of helicopters he owns and leases by nearly 30% over the next two years. His hasty of mostly midsized choppers involves airplane made by European aerospace enormous Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo.

Ibrahim is furthermore seeking out original markets to within the reduce rate of Weststar’s dependence on Malaysia. “We are shopping for strategic merchants who can abet us develop in a foreign country,” the unique military officer says. “Now we have gotten spoken to some merchants within the Center East.”

Ibrahim’s plans for his auto companies are within the same kind mettlesome.

The corporate launched a strategic partnership in March with Helicopter & Cooperation SAS, a joint enterprise between French Avico Team and Namibia-essentially based Westair Aviation, a deal that is intended to enable it to expand its presence within the oil and gasoline industry in Europe and Africa. Ibrahim says the company is in particular aroused by Namibia, Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania in Africa, besides Guyana and Suriname on the north waft of South The usa, and Indonesia.

On the an identical time, Weststar Aviation Companies and products is branching into chartering choppers to governments. Closing year it leased four helicopters to the Royal Malaysian Air Force. It says four more will likely be delivered by early 2024, whereas a extra three will likely be gotten smaller to the Malaysian executive. Beneath these agreements, the air drive and executive operate the airplane but they are owned and maintained by Weststar Aviation Companies and products.

The corporate is a “well-established and skilled player,” says Matthieu Guisolphe, sales director for Southeast Asia at Asian Sky Team, a Hong Kong-essentially based aviation consultancy. “They are a confirmed and solid operator with a recent hasty.”

On the assorted hand, there are a number of clouds within the shimmering outlook. “They attach no longer appear to be the very finest ones looking to ranking into newer markets,” says Dennis Lau, Asian Sky Team’s consultancy products and services director. “The helicopter products and services market is extraordinarily fragmented,” he says, “[and] very competitive, in particular relating to bidding for oil and gasoline contracts.” Finding the upright companions will furthermore be a question, he provides.

Ibrahim with a Weststar Maxus G10. He is the unique distributor for China’s Maxus vehicles in Malaysia thru Weststar Maxus.

Jeffry Lim for Forbes asia

Ibrahim’s plans for his auto companies, which he says have a consolidated earnings of 315 million ringgit, are within the same kind mettlesome. He is the unique distributor for China’s Maxus vehicles in Malaysia thru Weststar Maxus. Ibrahim plans so as to add more dealerships to spice up distribution of Maxus electric and hybrid vehicles, which he expects will account for 20% of Maxus sales this year. His Weststar Auto is a dealer for Japan’s Honda, and Weststar Motors sells imported luxurious vehicles.

On the F&B entrance, Ibrahim’s oldest son, Syed Muhammad Arif, manages 9 Wolf & Turtle coffee shops in Malaysia and plans to bigger than triple the quantity of shops by 2025 (three of Ibrahim’s seven kids and one son-in-legislation are aroused by his companies). Ibrahim furthermore has upscale Thai eating locations in having a gape division shops below the Absolute Thai stamp that he operates with a companion. He declined to initiating monetary information for many of his companies.

Ibrahim entered the industry world in 1994 after serving as an officer for 13 years within the Royal Intelligence Corps of the Malaysian Armed Forces. He invested 200,000 ringgit to originate importing used luxurious vehicles from Europe to sell in Malaysia. In 2002 he turned a distributor for Honda, and in 2011 Maxus came on board.


Ready for Takeoff?

Weststar Aviation Companies and products, with a solid footing within the Asia-Pacific marketplace for offshore helicopter products and services, now seeks to develop extra afield.

Provide: Imarc Team

His first brush with aviation changed into once in 2002, when he supplied one whirlybird for $1.5 million. That changed into once largely for personal spend, but Ibrahim says he furthermore wanted to admire the operational charges and regulatory requirements wanted to operate helicopters for industrial spend.

He scaled up after realizing there changed into once enormous doable for helicopter products and services within the oil and gasoline sector (Malaysia is the second-greatest oil and gasoline producer by output in Southeast Asia, essentially based on the U.S. Vitality Records Administration). By 2011 he had 11 choppers and two years later KKR turned an investor.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim is downplaying experiences final year that he’s interested by an IPO for Weststar Aviation Companies and products. “We’re no longer in a bustle to pursue a public checklist,” he says. “We are able to handiest attain it when the timing is upright.”

As for his purpose of being the greatest helicopter operator on this planet, he faces stiff opponents; a number of of the greatest world players have bigger than 200 airplane. But Ibrahim is unfazed: “This industry is no longer about who has the most choppers,” he says. “It is furthermore about who has the becoming pilots, the becoming engineers, the becoming safety records and cheap earnings.”

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