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24/01/02 . n/a . BBC News Online . UK  
McDonald's earnings fall  
The fast-food giant McDonald's has posted its fifth straight fall in quarterly earnings, although the fall was mainly due to restructuring costs.  

McDonald's reported net earnings of $271.9m for the fourth quarter, down from $452m in the same period the previous year.

But stripping out one-off items the company said earnings for the quarter were broadly flat.

Sales at the burger chain have suffered from the global economic slowdown, and since late 2000 from the effects of mad cow disease.

Full-year net earnings fell 17%, and chairman and chief executive Jack Greenberg called 2001 the most challenging year in the company's history.

But recent gains in European sales, together with an upturn in business in the US during the last quarter, led Mr Greenberg to say he expected profits this year to "improve significantly."  
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