Npower saw losses widen last year as the energy giant lost more than 650,000 customers amid fierce competition.

Accounts filed by parent company, Germany's Innogy, show npower's losses grew by €9 million (£7.7m) to €72m (£61.8m) in 2018 as the supplier's margins came under pressure.

The firm also booked higher costs related to the roll-out of smart meters across the UK.

Innogy itself took a €1.5bn (£1.3bn) writedown on npower after failing to secure its merger with Perth-based SSE last year.

Scottish Hydroelectric owner SSE and npower called off the amalgamation of their retail operations in December, blaming "challenging market conditions" and the Government's price cap.

READ MORE: Perth-based energy giant loses more customers

Innogy had planned to combine npower with SSE's UK household energy and energy services business and list the new supplier on the London Stock Exchange.

The writedown to npower has forced Innogy to cut its dividend to €1.40 (£1.20) a share from €1.60 (£1.37).

However, the company noted that it profited from the higher-than-average energy consumption of British customers and has sought to slash costs to mitigate against the headwinds at npower.

The company plans to cut around 900 jobs in the course of this year, having started talks with staff and unions last month.

At the end of 2018 npower had a workforce of around 6,050 people.

HeraldScotland: A Balfour Beatty worker on a construction site

Infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty has posted rising full-year profits as a turnaround under chief Leo Quinn continues to gather momentum.

The FTSE 250-listed group, which is behind Crossrail, reported a five per cent increase in pre-tax profit to £123 million last year.
Revenues slipped by 5% to £7.8 billion but this was partly due to the firm cutting back on less profitable work.

Balfour said a "higher quality" order book increased 11% to £12.6bn, with its UK and US construction arms reporting underlying margin growth in line with industry standards in the second half of the year.

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Construction services profit increased 32% and gross debt reduced by over 40% as it repaid £231m of convertible bonds.

Mr Quinn, who has been reducing costs and trying to raise productivity, hailed the group's "Build to Last" transformation programme.

Insurance giant Prudential has once again hailed its fast-growing Asian business for helping drive a solid rise in annual profits.

The group posted a six per cent rise in operating profits on a constant currency basis to £4.8 billion for 2018.

Profits were boosted by a 14% jump in Asia earnings, to £1.9bn last year.

Prudential shares edged 1% higher after the slightly better-than-expected results.

Mike Wells, group chief executive of Prudential, said: "In 2018, our financial performance, again led by our Asia operations, is testament to the scale of our opportunity set, the depth of our capabilities and our unrelenting focus on executing our strategy at pace."