PARIS, Feb 22 (Reuters) - French building materials group St Gobain posted higher profits for 2017 and said it expected further earnings growth in 2018, echoing similarly upbeat messages from peers as a strengthening global economy buoys the construction industry.
St Gobain, embroiled in a long-running bid battle with Swiss construction chemicals maker Sika, said its 2017 operating profits had risen 7.5 percent from a year ago to 3.03 billion euros ($3.73 billion), broadly in line with forecasts.
Its recurring net income rose 16.7 percent to 1.63 billion euros, while the company also increased its dividend to 1.30 euros per share for 2017, up from 1.26 euros last year.
Earlier this week, German construction company HeidelbergCement said it expected global economic growth to spur a rise in sales for this year, and St Gobain issued a similarly confident outlook.
"In 2018, we expect the economic climate to remain supportive. We will continue to implement our strategic objectives and are targeting a further like-for-like increase in operating income," said St Gobain chairman and chief executive Pierre-Andre de Chalendar in a statement.
$1 = 0.8115 euros Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Leigh Thomas