Oak Brook, IL-Fast-food chain McDonald's Corp. said recently it's seeing annual earnings per share growth of 10 to 11 percent amid a slowdown in European sales. The company also reported that systemwide sales for November were $3.2 billion, up 4 percent from the same period last year.

McDonald's sales in Europe fell 11 percent in November to $670.6 million, compared with $753.8 million in November 1999. "Sales in certain European countries were tempered by the decline in consumer confidence regarding the safety of the European beef supply," McDonald CEO Jack Greenberg said in a statement.

Concern over Europe's beef supply was sparked last month when cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow" disease) were first spotted in Germany, France, Spain and other countries. The outbreak has sparked quality control actions by the European Union and concern among consumers who are looking to eat more nonbeef products.

"These safety concerns have nothing to do with McDonald's because of our product specifications," Greenberg said.

The dip in European sales caused the company to come in at the lower end of a 10 to 15 percent earnings-per-share forecast made earlier. -Reuters