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McDonald's golden arches gleamed as shares reached a 7-year high

McDonald's golden arches gleamed as shares reached a 7-year high

McDonald's Corp. shares reached a seven-year high in 2006 with the fast-food behemoth recording robust sales led by chicken sandwiches, Egg McMuffins and new premium coffees.
The year was marked by increases in same-store sales from restaurants open more than a year, and a stock price that reached a high of $44.24 _ its best showing since 1999.
Same-store sales have risen for 43 consecutive months and, as of earlier this month, were up 5.6 percent worldwide.
The Oak Brook, Illinois, chain, with a market capitalization of about $53.9 billion (euro40.9 billion), also held its lead over competitors Burger King Corp. and Wendy's International Inc.
Analysts polled by Thomson Financial estimate sales of $22.1 billion (euro16.7 billion) for 2006 and $23.1 billion (euro17.5 billion) for 2007. In 2005, revenue hit $20.5 billion for the year.
The company attributed its success this year to the new chicken Snack Wrap sandwich, launched in July, strong breakfast sales and a big market for the chain's products in Europe.
U.S. breakfast sales alone rose 7 percent in the third quarter, helped in part by the company's premium coffees introduced earlier this year.
Next year, McDonald's is hoping to protect its breakfast turf from competitors by testing the addition of breakfast meals to its popular dollar menu. Wendy's is planning to add new breakfast items to its menu, while Burger King is lowering breakfast prices.
Shareholders should continue to receive more cash from the company in the next few years. Chief Financial Officer Matt Paull said in October the company expects to return at least $10 billion (euro7.58 billion) to shareholders from 2006 through 2008, or more than double the $4.3 billion (euro3.26 billion) in cash returned from 2003 to 2005.
Shares rose 12 cents to $43.69 in Tuesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.


Updated : 2021-04-17 07:54 GMT+08:00