McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) has announced plans to return between $18 billion and $20 billion to shareholders between 2014 and 2016 through a combination of dividends and share repurchases. That represents a 10% to 20% increase over the amount of cash returned between 2011 and 2013.

McDonald's

In his investor presentation today, the fast food chain’s president and CEO, Don Thompson, also indicated the company’s plans to refranchise at least 1,500 restaurants by the end of 2016.

McDonald’s 10% to 20% increase in cash return

While unveiling its first quarter results last month, McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) reported that comparable sales in its Asia, Pacific, Middle East, and Africa region rose .8%, while operating income fell $10 or 2% in constant currencies. The chain noted weakness in Japan and Australia but solid performance in China. The fast food chain returned $1.2 billion to shareholders through buybacks and dividends.

In his investor presentation today, the CEO detailed plans to refranchise at least 1,500 restaurants by the end of 2016, primarily in the Asia / Pacific, Middle East, and Africa and Europe regions, That reflects a more than 50% increase in refranchising activity compared with the prior three-year period. Refranchising involves the sale of corporate-owned properties to franchisees and is used to free up cash and expand the chain.

Closer attention to G&A spending

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) also indicated that it would review and analyze its general and administrative spending with intent to allocate resources to higher-return initiatives, including developing its global digital capabilities.

The world’s leading global food service company’s chief financial officer, Pete Bensen, told the conference: “Our 3-year cash return target is based on several activities including the significant free cash flow generated from our operations, as well as the use of cash proceeds from our debt additions and refranchising activity.” He added, “The actions we are taking to enhance long-term shareholder value fit squarely within our proven business model.”

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) CEO Don Thomson’s plan involved an intensified commitment to the company’s customer-focused strategic framework – the Plan to Win – and other actions to enhance long-term shareholder value.