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McDonald's Q4 Results Top View; To Open 1300 New Restaurants In 2012


McDonald's Corp. (MCD) on Tuesday reported an 11 percent increase in profit for the fourth quarter, boosted by broad-based sales growth globally. Comparable sales increased 7.5 percent, with increases in the U.S., Europe and Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions. Both earnings per share and revenue beat analysts' expectations.

Looking ahead, the fast food giant projects January comparable sales to increase in the mid-single digits, and said it plans to open more than 1,300 new restaurants in 2012.

The Oak Brook, Illinois-based hamburger chain posted net income for the fourth quarter of $1.38 billion or $1.33 per share, up from $1.24 billion or $1.16 per share in the prior-year quarter.

On average, 25 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $1.30 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Total revenue for the quarter increased 10 percent to $6.82 billion from $6.21 billion in the same period last year, and topped analysts' consensus estimate of $6.81 billion.

Excluding currency translation impact, revenues for the quarter grew 10 percent. Sales from company-operated restaurants rose 10 percent from last year to $4.59 billion, while revenues from franchised restaurants rose 9 percent to $2.24 billion.

Global comparable sales - a metric used to gauge performance of restaurants open for at least one year - increased 7.5 percent in the quarter, with all regions reporting positive results.

U.S. comparable sales were up 7.1 percent, Europe was up 7.3 percent and Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa or APMEA was up 6.9 percent.

On a segmental basis, U.S. operating income for the quarter rose 15 percent. McDonald's Europe reported a 10 percent increase in operating income, or 12 percent increase in constant currencies, led by robust performance in France, the U.K., Russia and Germany.

APMEA region reported 22 percent growth in operating income, or 19 percent growth in constant currencies, fueled by stronger results across many markets.

For fiscal year 2011, McDonald's net income rose to $5.50 billion or $5.27 per share from $4.95 billion or $4.58 per share in the previous year. Revenues grew 12 percent to $27.01 billion from $24.07 billion in the prior year. Analysts expected the company to earn $5.24 per share for the year on revenues of $26.99 billion.

Global comparable sales for the year increased 5.6 percent, with comparable sales across all geographic segments for every quarter.

Looking ahead, McDonald's forecasts global January comparable sales growth in a range of 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent.

Jim Skinner, Chief Executive Officer of McDonald's Corp. said, "In 2012, we plan to invest about $2.9 billion of capital - roughly half dedicated to opening more than 1,300 new McDonald's restaurants and the other half allocated to investing in our existing locations, including the reimaging of over 2,400 restaurants."

MCD closed Monday's trading at $100.95, down $0.79 on a volume of 6.06 million shares. In Tuesday's pre-market, the stock is adding $0.47 or 0.45 percent to $101.40.

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