Japanese fastfood chain McDonald’s Japan has said it is on track to deliver first-half earnings well above its original forecast.

The company, which is 50% owned by US fastfood giant McDonald’s, has forecast net profit of ¥151m (US$1.38m) for the first six months of 2004, reported Reuters.

McDonald’s Japan said it may even revise its full-year earnings forecast to a higher value than its current guidance of ¥2.87bn. A return to a full-year profit would bring an end to two years of losses, as the chain’s performance recovers with the help of store closures and a focus on its core business.

Pat Donahue, chairman of McDonald’s Japan, said the chain expects to expand its operations by a net total of 20 to 40 stores in 2005. This year, the company does not plan to open any new stores on a net basis.