The Western Metal Products Company has denied reports that it is planning to close its metal products business and exit Nigeria.
WEMPCO indicated this in a statement made available to our correspondent on Tuesday.
Referencing reports in the media about its proposed sale of the Lagos Oriental Hotel and exit from Nigeria, the firm said there had never been and there was no intention of the group exiting Nigeria.
“Our Group has been in Nigeria for several decades and has witnessed many cycles of the Nigerian economy.
“Although the Nigerian economy faces tough times, our firm belief in the resilience of the nation‘s economy remains unshaken and we will continue to develop alongside Nigeria for many decades to come.
“WEMPCO Group of Companies remains fully committed to contributing to the ongoing growth and development of Nigeria.”
The firm also denied reports that it had relied on waivers from the government to function, saying, “contrary to claims in the reports that the WEMPCO Group had relied on Federal Government waivers, the Group has never received special concessions outside of those extended to industries as a whole.”
On the proposed sale of the Lagos Oriental Hotel, WEMPCO explained that “although the recent spate of advertisement of the hotel was not initiated or authorised by our Group, to divest in the asset would simply be a commercial decision based on the merits of a reasonable transaction.”
Explaining further, it stated that the Lagos Oriental Hotel was a flagship in the Nigerian hospitality business but not a flagship of the WEMPCO Group.”
“It is an investment made by the Group in 2008, but not part of our core manufacturing business,” it pointed out.
The statement included a brief history of WEMPCO, which read in part, “The WEMPCO Group of Companies was founded by businessman and entrepreneur, Mr K.F. Tung, over 50 years ago.
“He first visited Nigeria in I967 and soon began businesses in enamelware before venturing into steel, timber, ceramic and real estate industries.
“Under his leadership, WEMPCO flourished and has supplied much of Nigeria‘s construction materials through the country’s burgeoning economy throughout the years. The Group has without a doubt contributed immensely to the economy of Nigeria in particular and West Africa in general.”
Tung passed on on March 27 at the age of 97, the firm disclosed in the statement.