McDonald’s to return up to $20 billion to shareholders

The popular fast-food chain McDonald's has unveiled plans to return $18 billion to $20 billion to shareholders by 2016 through dividends or by buying-back shares.

The figure of $18-$20 billion that the company will return to shareholders during the period of 2014-2016 represents an increase of 10 to 20 per cent from the previous period of 2011-2013.

McDonald's shareholders are currently receiving a dividend of 3.2 per cent per share.

Pete Bensen, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer of the company, said in a statement that the decision would enhance long-term shareholder value.

Announcing the decision, Bensen added, "Our three-year cash return target is based on several activities, including the significant free cash flow generated from our operations, as well as the use of cash proceeds from our debt additions and refranchising activity."

The company also announced that the company would refranchise nearly 1,500 restaurants by the end of 2016. Most of these restaurants are situated in Europe, Middle East and the Asia/Pacific region.

CEO Don Thompson said that the company's "Plan to Win" along with competitive advantages, System alignment & financial discipline guided the execution of the company's global growth priorities.

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