A major debt burden is weighing heavily on Western Metal Products Company Limited (WEMPCO) Group as it plans to sell its flagship five-star Oriental Hotel, BusinessDay has learnt. According to a document seen by BusinessDay on Tuesday, owners of the Luxury Oriental Hotel, situated in-between the Lekki and Victoria Island areas of Lagos, are asking for $250 million (N90 billion). The group has fallen on hard times and is considering an exit from Nigeria along with its steel plant, which has 700,000 tonnes-capacity and employs about 14,000 people, mostly Nigerians, sources said. “When deep, long-term guys like these are exiting, then it is a very worrying sign. People like these are not supposed to exit,” an economic analyst, who asked not to be quoted, said. Founded by Lewis Tung and his brother Robert Tung, WEMPCO Group has been in Nigeria for over 40 years with established manufacturing companies that produce roofing sheets, galvanised pipes, wire nails, plywood, ceramic tiles and sanitary ware. It is also actively involved in agricultural and hospitality sectors through which it currently employs over 13,000 workers across its 11 subsidiaries. “If they leave there will be onl...