McDonald’s ups dividend

From Bloomberg News

McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest restaurant company, increased its annual dividend by 33% as part of a plan to return as much as $17 billion to shareholders through 2009.

The company will pay the $2-a-share annual dividend to shareholders after boosting sales, profit and cash from operations. The quarterly payout of 50 cents to investors who owned the stock on Dec. 1 amounts to more than $550 million, the Oak Brook, Ill., company said Thursday.

McDonald’s, led by Chief Executive Jim Skinner, focused on new chicken sandwiches, breakfast foods and coffees to boost revenue by 9.1% last year, the biggest increase in three years. The fast-food chain said it had returned $5.1 billion so far this year and $5.7 billion last year to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks.

Shares rose 84 cents to $62.27 on Thursday.