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Last Updated: Friday, 26 March, 2004, 02:24 GMT
BP flies UK flag in global survey
BP chief executive Lord Browne
BP chief executive Lord Browne
Oil giant BP is the fifth best company in the world according to a survey published by business magazine Forbes Global.

Compiling its first ever list of the top 2,000 firms in the world, BP is the highest placed of the 140 UK companies that made Forbes' grade.

The others included banking group HSBC (7th) and Anglo-Dutch Shell (13th).

Each company was judged on a number of criteria, ranging from minimum sales to assets, profits and market value.

American lead

The UK has the third largest number of successful companies after the US and Japan.

Shell's high placing is likely to raise a few eyebrows however, as it comes a week after it was forced to downgrade its oil reserves for the second time in three months, and delay the publication of its annual report.

Yet the company has also shown it is ahead of the pack by beating global rivals to sign oil and gas agreements with Libya.

North America has the highest number of featured companies with 851 listings, followed by the Pacific Rim with 540 and western Europe with 511.

European results

Beating BP to the top spot were American giants Citigroup, General Electric, American International Group and ExxonMobil.

Germany has 65 companies listed, followed by France with 64, Italy with 40 and Switzerland with 34.

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