Friday, August 17, 2012

McDonald’s Corporation Stock Analysis

McDonald’s Corporation (MCD), together with its subsidiaries, franchises and operates McDonald’s restaurants primarily in the United States, Europe, the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. This dividend aristocrat has paid dividends since 1976 and increased distributions on its common stock for 35 years in a row. The company’s last dividend increase was in September 2011 when the Board of Directors approved a 14.80% increase to 70 cents/share. The company’s largest competitors include Yum Brands (YUM), Starbucks (SBUX) and Burger King (BKW). Over the past decade this dividend growth stock has delivered an annualized total return of 16.70% to its shareholders.

The company has managed to an impressive increase in annual EPS growth since 2002. Earnings per share have risen by 23.80% per year. Analysts expect McDonald’s to earn $5.44 per share in 2012 and $6.02 per share in 2013. In comparison McDonald’s earned $5.27/share in 2011.
The return on equity has expanded from 10% in 2002 to 30% in 2012. Rather than focus on absolute values for this indicator, I generally want to see at least a stable return on equity over time.
The annual dividend payment has increased by 27.40% per year over the past decade, which is much higher than to the growth in EPS.
A 27% growth in distributions translates into the dividend payment doubling every two and a half years. If we look at historical data, going as far back as 1976 we see that McDonald’s has actually managed to double its dividend every three and a half years on average. The dividend payout ratio has increased from 31% in 2002 to 48% in 2011. The expansion in the payout ratio has enabled dividend growth to be faster than EPS growth over the past decade. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
Currently, McDonald’s is attractively valued at 16.80 times earnings, yields 3.10% and has an adequately covered dividend.

 Full Disclosure: Long MCD and YUM

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