If we can’t get the Chinese to ease up on US solar panel makers, at least we’re getting them to eat our food. A new research note indicates that McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is expecting to build about up to 200 new stores a year in China this year with a goal of 2,000 stores in the country by the end of the 2013 fiscal year, up from about 1,350 today. Both Starbucks Corp. (NYSE: SBUX) and Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) are also making significant expansion moves in China.
Today’s note from Sterne Agee puts McDonald’s at the top of the list against its competitors in China, noting that it believes the company “will gain market share vs. nearly every competitor” in the fast food business. The report goes on to note that McDonald’s return on investment currently stands at 23.3% for the company’s Asia Pacific/Middle East/Africa region and that the return on incremental invested capital is expected to reach 47.6% within 3 years.
Same-store sales from drive-thru stores perform better, so that is where the company will focus. The company also wants to boost its breakfast business, a big winner in the US, to more than the current 8% of sales. McDonald’s is also targeting growth in its franchising operations in China, from virtually zero today to 15%-30% over the next several years.
Sterne Agee has reiterated a $100/share price target on McDonald’s shares as well as the firm’s ‘Buy’ rating. McDonald’s shares are trading at around $86/share in the early afternoon today, down about -0.2%, in a 52-week range of $72.14-$91.22. The implied upside based on this recent price is 16%, pretty solid for company that is probably fully valued today.