US fastfood giant McDonald’s has reported a rise in quarterly net profit despite increased competition and a slowing global economy.

The world’s largest restaurant company posted first quarter net income of US$327.4m, or 26 cents a share, compared with $253.1m, or 20 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Before items, earnings per share were 29 cents compared with 27 cents a year earlier.

McDonald’s, which operates more than 30,000 hamburger outlets worldwide, posted its first ever loss in the fourth quarter of 2002. Analysts expected the company to post earnings of 28 cents a share on average in the first quarter, reported Reuters.

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