The McDonald’s Corporation has posted improved earnings per share for both the fourth quarter and the full fiscal year to the end of December 2005.

Diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter rose to US$0.48 from US$0.31 in the fourth quarter of 2004. For the full 2005 fiscal year, earnings per share increased to US$2.04 from US$1.79 in 2004.

Revenues for the quarter rose by 4% (6% in constant currencies), driven by a 4.2% increase in global comparable sales. For the full year, revenues rose by 7% (6% in constant currencies) to a record high of US$20bn. Global comparable sales for the full 2005 year rose by 3.9%, the company said.

Chief executive officer Jim Skinner said the 2005 performance reflected further progress in the company’s “Plan to Win” renewal strategy. “In 2005, McDonald’s marked its third year of meaningful progress under the Plan to Win,” Skinner said. “Our customers rewarded us by visiting our contemporary, reimaged restaurants more often to enjoy our broad range of quality menu choices along with our convenience and branded affordability.

“Our performance reflects the ongoing strength of our US business where we continue to leverage our convenience and build upon the successful initiatives launched over the past few years, including appealing menu additions, extended operating hours and cashless payment options. We are well positioned in the US to continue our momentum in 2006.”

The company’s European division saw comparable sales growth of 2.6% for the year, with a particularly strong performance in France and Russia, as well as an improved showing in Germany. “We will continue to build on our momentum in this important area of the world by strengthening our connection with customers through improved communication of our product quality, brand relevance and commitment to balanced, active lifestyles,” Skinner said.

Skinner added that the company planned to invest US$1.8bn of capital in the current fiscal year, with 800 new McDonald’s restaurants planned, along with a continuation of the reimaging programme. “Our capital expenditure plans reflect our ongoing commitment to investing in markets with solid returns as well as future growth potential,” Skinner said.

McDonald’s reaffirmed its average long-term growth targets of system-wide annual revenue growth of 3% to 5%, and annual operating income growth of 6% to 7%.