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McDonald’s earnings fall short, hurt by European lockdowns, but sees this year’s sales topping 2019

Shares of McDonald’s are about flat over the last year, giving it a market value of $161 billion.

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McDonald’s on Thursday reported that U.S. same-store sales jumped 5.5% in its latest quarter, but the coronavirus pandemic is still adding costs and slowing recovery in many of its international markets.

As the fast-food giant enters 2021, it’s projecting that systemwide sales will rebound to surpass 2019 comparisons.

Shares of the company rose less than 1% in morning trading.

Here’s what the company reported for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $1.70, adjusted, vs. $1.78 expected
  • Revenue: $5.31 billion vs. $5.37 billion expected

McDonald’s posted fourth-quarter net income of $1.38 billion, or $1.84 per share, down from $1.57 billion, or $2.08 per share a year earlier. The company reported that higher restaurant closing costs of $30 million and lower gains on the sales of restaurant businesses hurt profits for the quarter.

Excluding gains related to the sale of McDonald’s Japan stock and other items, McDonald’s earned $1.70 per share, missing the $1.78 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Net sales dropped 2% to $5.31 billion, falling short of expectations of $5.37 billion. Worldwide same-store sales shrank by 1.3%, but improved from the third quarter.

In the United States, same-store sales were positive for the second straight quarter. The company’s home market reported same-store sales growth of 5.5%. McDonald’s credited marketing investments and promotional activity, including those focused on core menu items like the Big Mac. The consumer trend of spending more per order stayed true during the quarter as well, although traffic remained negative.

Working through franchisee feud

But the speedy U.S. sales recovery hasn’t stopped McDonald’s management and franchisees from feuding. Operators’ grievances with the company include asking franchisees to pay higher fees for tech investments and ending a subsidy for Happy Meals that has existed for decades. As part of their revolt, franchisees plan to push back against any future value promotions and revisit those already decided for 2021. Operators have also ceased any nonessential communication with the company.

CEO Chris Kempczinski told analysts that he was confident that U.S. President Joe Erlinger and franchisee leadership would be able to work through the disagreement. Executives also said that average U.S. franchisee restaurant operating cash flow reached an all-time high in 2020, up nearly $40,000 over 2019.

He also commented on President Joe Biden’s plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next five years. He told analysts that based on the Canadian minimum wage increase from several years ago and the pay hikes in different states and municipalities in recent years, the company would be able to weather the higher labor costs.

“So long as it’s done in a staged way and in a way that is equitable for everybody, McDonald’s will be just fine,” Kempczinski said.

Covid shutdowns take a toll

McDonald’s international operated markets division, which includes France, Germany and Australia, was the laggard of the quarter. Its same-store sales fell 7.4%. Resurgences of Covid-19 hit most of the segment’s markets, leading to increased government restrictions. However, the company reported that the United Kingdom and Australia both reported positive same-store sales growth for the quarter.

Kempczinski said that Australia could provide a good model for the post-pandemic business. The country has effectively avoided a surge of new cases during the fall and winter, allowing its residents to resume many normal activities. But Kempczinski said that restaurants in Australia are still reporting higher digital sales and a lift to average tickets.

The chain’s international developmental licensed markets segment fared better. Its same-store sales fell just 3.6% in the quarter. Japan showed strong same-store sales growth, but it wasn’t enough to offset declining sales elsewhere in Asia and Latin America.

In 2021, McDonald’s is expecting systemwide sales growth in the low double digits, excluding any foreign currency changes. New restaurant units are projected to contribute about 1% to systemwide sales growth.

It’s expecting $2.3 billion in capital expenditures, about half of which will go toward opening nearly 500 new restaurants in the U.S. and its international operated markets.

Read the full earnings report here.

— CNBC’s Kate Rogers contributed to this report.

McDonald’s posted fourth-quarter net income of $1.38 billion, or $1.84 per share, down from $1.57 billion, or $2.08 per share a year earlier. The company reported that higher restaurant closing costs of $30 million and lower gains on the sales of restaurant businesses hurt profits for the quarter.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/28/mcdonalds-mcd-q4-2020-earnings.html

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China orders Tencent to give up exclusive music licensing rights as crackdown continues

China’s antitrust regulator ordered Tencent to give up its exclusive licensing rights with international record labels and slapped a $$77,000 fine on the company.

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Chinese technology firm Tencent against the backdrop of China’s flag.

Budrul Chukrut | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

China’s antitrust regulator has ordered Tencent to give up its exclusive music licensing rights and slapped a fine on the company for anti-competitive behavior, as Beijing continues to crack down on its internet giants at home.

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) on Saturday imposed a fine of 500,000 yuan ($77,141) on the company citing violations in its acquisition of China Music in 2016.

Following that acquisition, Tencent owns more than 80% of exclusive music library resources, giving the company an advantage over its competitors as it is able to reach more exclusive deals with copyright holders, SAMR said in a statement.

The competition watchdog ordered Tencent and its affiliates to relinquish exclusive music rights within 30 days, and to end requirements for copyright holders to grant the company better treatment than to its competitors.

Tencent will have to report to the SAMR on its progress every year for three years, according to the statement, and the antitrust regulator will strictly supervise its implementation according to law.

In response, Tencent said in a statement it will “comply with all the regulatory requirements, fulfill our social responsibilities and contribute to healthy competition in the market.”

Tencent will work with affiliates, including Tencent Music Entertainment, to make those changes and ensure full compliance, it said.

China’s grip on internet giantsRead more about China from CNBC ProThe competition watchdog ordered Tencent and its affiliates to relinquish exclusive music rights within 30 days, and to end requirements for copyright holders to grant the company better treatment than to its competitors.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/24/china-crackdown-antitrust-regulator-orders-tencent-music-to-give-up-music-label-rights.html

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Earnings

Corporate Company Earnings, Find Earnings Per Share and Earnings History Online

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/earnings/

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Jeff Bezos reaches space on Blue Origin’s first crewed launch

Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin launched him into spaceflight history, riding the inaugural crew launch of a New Shepard rocket.

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VAN HORN, Texas — For 10 minutes and 10 seconds on Tuesday, Jeff Bezos wasn’t the richest man on Earth.

His Blue Origin company launched him into spaceflight history on Tuesday. Its first crewed New Shepard rocket blasted off from the Texas desert for the brief flight, also carrying his brother and the oldest and youngest people to ever have flown in space.

“Best day ever!” Bezos said after touchdown.

This photo provided by Blue Origin, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lifts off Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The rocket is carrying passengers Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, his brother Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk.

Blue Origin | AP

The capsule carrying the Blue Origin crew accelerated to more than three times the speed of sound before it reached beyond the 80 kilometer boundary (about 262,000 feet) the U.S. uses to mark the edge of space. The crew capsule reached an altitude of 107 kilometers (351,210 feet), and the rocket hit a top speed of 2,233 mph during the launch.

The crew floated in microgravity for a couple minutes, before the capsule returned and landed under a set of parachutes to end the mission after 10 minutes and 10 seconds.

The launch marked Blue Origin’s entrance into the market of private spaceflight, joining Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic — its direct competitor in the sector of suborbital tourism — and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Making history

In addition to his singular net worth, Bezos, 57, is also the only space founder to ride the first crewed flight of his company. While SpaceX and Virgin Galactic have launched astronauts before, Bezos is the first to put himself on the inaugural crew flight.

Floating next to him: Wally Funk, 82, and Oliver Daemen, 18 — respectively the oldest and youngest humans to ever fly in space — and Bezos’ brother, Mark, 53.

Billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of ecommerce company Amazon.com Inc, his brother Mark Bezos, a private equity executive, pioneering female aviator Wally Funk and recent Dutch high school graduate Oliver Daemen pose in an undated photograph, ahead of their scheduled flight aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket near Van Horn, Texas, U.S.

Blue Origin | Reuters

Bezos invited his brother and Funk, a female aerospace pioneer, to join the flight. Daemen was a late addition. His seat was originally part of a public auction, but the auction’s winner, an anonymous person who bid $28 million to fly with Bezos, was unable to make the July 20 launch date. Daemen’s father, Joes, CEO of a private equity firm in the Netherlands, was also a bidder, with Daemen scheduled to fly on Blue Origin’s second crew launch as a paying passenger. When the mystery bidder backed out, the company moved Daemen up to the first launch.

Tuesday’s launch also came on another historic milestone — the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Bezos’ space vision

New Shepard’s launch represents a milestone in its progress toward Bezos’ vision. He founded Blue Origin with the goal to create “a future where millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth.”

The New Shepard rocket and the capsule that rides atop it are reusable, capable of launching, landing, and launching again multiple times. The rocket system is in many ways a pathfinder for Blue Origin’s other, larger scale projects — such as its orbital New Glenn rocket.

An artist’s illustration of a New Glenn rocket standing on the launchpad in Florida.

Blue Origin

Like New Shepard, the New Glenn rocket booster is designed to be reusable, with the company expecting each one to be capable of launching and landing 25 times. New Glenn, with an inaugural launch date target of late 2022, stands about 320 feet tall and is designed to lift nearly 50 tons of payload to low Earth orbit. The rockets are named after Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and John Glenn, respectively the first American in space and the first American to orbit Earth. In 1998, then-77-year-old Sen. Glenn became the oldest person in space.

Blue Origin has also developed multiple engines to power both its rockets, including the BE-3, BE-4, and BE-7 engines.

Blue Origin tests one of the BE-4 rocket engines the company is developing to launch its New Glenn rocket.

Blue Origin | gif by @thesheetztweetz

Blue Origin is also working on a crewed lander called Blue Moon, which the company hopes to one day deliver astronauts and cargo to the lunar surface.

Space billionaires

Mural displaying Jeff Bezo and his brother Mark Bezo, is seen in Van Horn, Texas, two days before the scheduled launch of Blue Origin’s inaugural flight to the edge of space by billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos and his three crewmates, in the nearby town of Van Horn, Texas, U.S. July 18, 2021.

Thom Baur | Reuters

The company’s only direct competition in the market of launching space tourists to the edge of space is Branson’s Virgin Galactic, a sector known as suborbital tourism. SpaceX is preparing to launch its first private mission in September, called Inspiration4, but Musk’s company sends its capsules further into space on multiday flights, in what is known as orbital tourism.

Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have been developing rocket-powered spacecraft, but that is where the similarities end. While Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket launches vertically Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo system is released in the air and returns to Earth in a glide for a runway landing, like an aircraft.

And while Blue Origin launches autonomously, Virgin Galactic system is flown by two pilots. Branson’s company has flown four test spaceflights to date but does not expect to begin flying paying customers until 2022.

Blue Origin’s auction may have netted $28 million, but a seat on a suborbital spacecraft is typically much less expensive. Virgin Galactic has historically sold reservations between $200,000 and $250,000 per ticket, and more recently charged the Italian Air Force about $500,000 per ticket for a training spaceflight.

The tourism market is a nascent slice of the more than $420 billion space economy. Yet its high profile — given the much more thrilling human element — means it has a powerful and widespread influence over the space industry, with investors often pointing to astronaut flights as driving excitement about the broader implications of the extraterrestrial marketplace.

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The capsule carrying the Blue Origin crew accelerated to more than three times the speed of sound before it reached beyond the 80 kilometer boundary (about 262,000 feet) the U.S. uses to mark the edge of space. The crew capsule reached an altitude of 107 kilometers (351,210 feet), and the rocket hit a top speed of 2,233 mph during the launch.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/20/jeff-bezos-reaches-space-on-blue-origins-first-crewed-launch.html

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