The petrol retailing sector is revealed as a mixed market of winners and losers, but is certainly no worse than any other industry, according to a new report by Plimsoll Publishing Ltd.

The company has just published – in the press for the first time – a new analysis of the Top 100 Petrol Filling Stations, which contains a full four-year history of each of the top 100 companies, looking at their key strengths and weaknesses.

The analysis also names the companies that are winning and losing in the industry as well as five companies as ‘sleepers’, that is, companies with good cash reserves yet losing pace in the market.

The companies listed represent 98 per cent of the industry’s turnover “perhaps as good a barometer of the market as you are likely to get,” said David Pattison, senior analyst at Pimsoll Publishing Ltd, which has been performing analysis on numerous industry sectors for 17 years.

“The report dispels the myth that petrol retailing is in the doldrums, because it lets you look at individual performances.”

As part of Plimsoll’s analysis of major players, each of the top 100 companies is ranked on sales turnover. With an average sales growth among the group of 0.3 per cent, only 17 companies have kept their same sales position from last year. Fifty seven companies have moved up in their sales performance and 36 have fallen.

Showing the biggest improvement in their position is Exelby Services Ltd, moving up three places in the league, and now the 24th biggest company in the industry. Top of the tree is BP Oil UK, followed by Shell UK and Texaco Ltd.

But it is the profitability rankings that have seen the changes, according to Pattison, with average margins in the group a poor 0.7 per cent. Only three companies have kept their same profit ranking with 57 moving up and 32 falling. The number of loss makers has increased to 28 companies with 15 of these companies now losing money for the second year running.

The biggest profit mover in this edition is Withy Trees Ltd, moving up 10 places to 25th place this year. AS24 Point Carburants (UK) Ltd remains the most profitable company in the analysis.