President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of McDonald’s Inc. said it best in the earnings call in late January 2022, we are “… witnessing the beginning of the next great chapter at McDonald’s, …”. He continued with “2021 was a record-setting year for McDonald’s on many dimensions, …” Simply put, McDonald’s had the best financial performance ever in its history during 2021. It just didn’t marginally exceed records, McDonald’s dramatically surpassed all financial records in its entire history. McDonald’s was already the standard bearer in the informal-eating-out industry; it took this standard to a whole new level. When a company has net profits of more than 20%, it is labeled a ‘darling’; over 25%, it is just unheard of financial results; in 2021, McDonald’s net profit was greater than 32%. This sets such a high standard for fast-food restaurants; it is unlikely to be matched by others – EVER.
When a company performs to this level, intrinsic value soars. Intrinsic value is built on a company’s inherent worth. The more stable and reliable a company, the greater the intrinsic value for that company. The reason is simple, the discount rate used with evaluating earnings improves because management demonstrates that it can indeed perform and in this case, perform at exceptional levels.
What is even more fascinating is this:
If you look at McDonald’s balance sheet, total assets on 12/31/21 are $53.8 Billion; total liabilities are $58.4 Billion. McDonald’s has a NEGATIVE EQUITY POSITION OF $4.6 BILLION. You read that correctly. In simple layman’s terminology, this is called ‘Bankrupt’. Every business textbook used in college defines bankruptcy as liabilities exceeding assets. This makes McDonald’s performance just that more impressive. They are so solid, even creditors ignore this situation and will still loan money to McDonald’s. During 2021, McDonald’s was able to acquire long-term loans totaling $1.154 Billion. To further validate the incredible worthiness of McDonald’s, from page 57 of their filed SEC Form 10-K (annual report), “There are no provisions in the Company’s debt obligations that would accelerate repayment of debt as a result of a change in credit ratings or a material adverse change in the Company’s business.” You can only count on one hand the number of companies that have this level of credit.
McDonald’s is financially rock solid.