Furniture wholesaler Willis & Gambier reduced the amount it owes to other companies in the Samson Holding group by more than £23 million in a year of declining sales in 2017.


The Peterborough distributor — owned by the Far East furniture maker and distributor since 2008 — cut its short-term intra-group debt to £12.6 million (2016: £35.3m) and its long-term group borrowing to £6.5 million (2016: £7.1m) last year.

That was the principal driver in it holding a depleted £1.1 million year-end cash balance at December 31, falling from £21.7 million a year earlier.

An improving foreign exchange situation made it a better time to repatriate funds, with the company booking a £2.5 million gain on currency last year.

That helped the business book net income of £1.8 million in the year to end December, despite sales falling 24 percent to £9.5 million.

Willis & Gambier had taken an accounting hit from sterling's dive in the immediate aftermath of the EU vote, with it booking a net loss £7.6 million in 2016, with nearly 95 percent of that down to foreign exchange.

Stripping out the impact of foreign exchange, losses in 2017 widened to £656,865, from £417,080 a year earlier.

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