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McDonald's reports higher 4Q profits

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New York (AFP)

Fast-food giant McDonald's said Wednesday its profits increased in the fourth quarter partly as a result of higher sales in the US and other key markets.

But the dramatic increase, more than doubling profits to $1.4 billion, was due mainly to large one-time costs associated with US tax reform in the year-ago period.

And total revenues declined 3.3 percent to $5.2 billion, the result of company selling restaurants to franchisers.

Comparable sales rose 2.3 percent in the United States following a shift to more expensive menu items and price increases. Revenues from the US accounted for about 37 percent of the global total.

International markets with especially strong sales included Britain, Germany, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands and Japan, the company said.

McDonald's has ramped up investment in digital operations, including smartphone applications and home-delivery in some markets. The company's 2018 capital spending was $2.7 billion, up from $1.9 billion the prior year.

In 2019, McDonald's forecast capital spending of $2.3 billion.

"As we begin 2019, we have confidence in our plan and the continued growth opportunities from delivery, Experience of the Future and digital," said Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook in a press release.

"We remain committed to running great restaurants, which will continue to make a difference for our customers and drive long-term sustainable growth."

Shares of McDonald's dipped 0.2 percent to $181.86 in trading prior to the opening of Wall Street.

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