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McDonald's drops plan to sell shares in Japan unit

The logo of McDonald's is seen at its restaurant facade in Tokyo February 5, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) has put on hold plans to sell shares in its Japan unit, which recently returned to profit for the first time in three years after a series of food scandals shook consumer confidence in the chain.

The fast food giant has "made the decision to not proceed with the transaction at this time," Chief Finance Officer Kevin M. Ozan told investors on a conference call on Tuesday.

The decision followed a review of its stake, Ozan said.

"We believe the market is poised to maintain its strong momentum," he added.

McDonald's Holdings Co Japan Ltd <2702.T> expects operating profit in the current fiscal year to grow to 9 billion yen ($80.92 million), a 29.9 percent rise on the previous year.

The Japan unit has had success in capturing the attention of local consumers with recent innovations including a burger-naming election, French fries topped with chocolate and a tie-up involving hit smartphone game Pokemon Go.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing)