McDonald's profit falls 32% in '07

by Eric Schroeder
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OAK BROOK, ILL. — Net income at McDonald’s Corp. in the fiscal year ended Dec. 31 was $2,395.1 million, equal to $1.93 per share on the common stock, down 32% from $3,544.2 million, or $2.29 per share, in fiscal 2006. Fiscal 2007 results were adversely affected by impairment and other charges of $1,670.3 million, primarily associated with the company’s sale of its businesses in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and 13 other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to a developmental licensee organization.

Total revenue, meanwhile, climbed 9% to a record high $22,786.6 million, up from $20,895.2 million in fiscal 2006.

During the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, net income totaled $1,273.2 million, or $1.06 per share, up 3% from $1,241.5 million, or $1 per share. Sales were $5,753.6 million, up 6%.

"For the quarter, the U.S. business generated solid comparable sales growth of 3.3% and increased operating income by 6% by staying in-tune with growing consumer demand around breakfast, beverages, and everyday value," said Jim Skinner, chief executive officer. "While severe winter weather throughout the month and softer consumer spending resulted in December U.S. comparable sales being flat, we remain confident in our U.S. business. Our strategic initiatives, anchored by McDonald’s three-tiered menu of premium, core and Dollar Menu options, position us well to grow sales and build customer loyalty for 2008 and beyond."

Mr. Skinner said Europe generated double-digit revenue and operating income growth during the fourth quarter, while Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa also delivered "outstanding quarterly results."

During 2007, McDonald’s raised its cash return to shareholders target to $15 billion to $17 billion for 2007 through 2009. The company delivered $5.7 billion of this commitment during 2007 through combined dividends and share repurchases.

Separately, Mr. Skinner said the company’s board of directors has decided that beginning in 2008, dividends declared will be paid on a quarterly basis. On Jan. 24, McDonald’s board declared a dividend for the first quarter of 2008 of 37.5c per share payable on March 17 to shareholders of record on March 3. The board will continue to review the company’s dividend rate annually each fall, he said.

"For 2008, we remain focused on delivering a great McDonald’s experience to each of the nearly 56 million customers we serve every day," he said. "I am confident that our strong global brand, resilient business model and proven Plan to Win strategy will continue to deliver long-term value for our System and our shareholders. I am optimistic about McDonald’s outlook for 2008."

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