The number of sites operated by independent dealers will continue to grow, according to Donal Murphy, managing director of DCC Energy, which owns GB Oils. "Efficient operators with the right capital structure will prosper," he told an exclusive gathering at the Top 50 Indies dinner at the St John’s hotel in Solihull last month.

The dinner was held to celebrate the publication of the latest Top 50 Indies listing, in which MRH Retail once again emerged as the biggest independent petrol retailer in the UK, despite a new entry from Gerald Ronson’s consortium Rontec. The Epping-based indie now operates 325 sites, while Rontec has 234 owned sites plus at the time of going to press 230 operated sites. The Snax 24 sister-company was positioned at number two because its operated sites have already been sold to Shell and will be moving across to the oil company during the next year.

The event ran alongside the Forecourt & Fuel Equipment show at the NEC in Birmingham, which ran from March 25-27. A highlight of the exhibition was Forecourt Trader’s VIP Club in the Forecourt Live area, which included a panel discussion with RMI Petrol’s Brian Madderson, property advisors Amanda Barber and Adam Wadlow, pricing specialist Andreas Jonason from Simon-Kucher & Partners, Nicky Wilkins from Santander Corporate Banking, and Catalist’s Arthur Renshaw.