Utility Veolia 2017 core earnings up 2 pct, says 2018 started strongly

PARIS, Feb 22 (Reuters) - French water and waste group Veolia said double-digit international growth and a recovery in France boosted its 2017 core earnings by two percent, and added that an acceleration of growth in the fourth quarter had continued into early 2018.

Veolia's 2017 revenue rose 3.9 percent to 25.12 billion euros ($30.82 billion), compared to a mean consensus forecast for revenues of 24.9 billion euros.

Core earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 2 percent to 3.28 billion, in line with forecasts.

Net profits rose 4.8 percent to 401.6 million euros and the company increased its dividend to 0.84 euros-per-share versus 0.80 euros last year.

Veolia confirmed its 2018 outlook for core earnings greater than last year, and for 2019 core earnings between 3.3-3.5 billion euros.

($1 = 0.8151 euros) (Reporting by Geert De Clercq Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)