Economy

ASML signals double-digit annual growth as quarterly sales jump

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Semiconductor equipment maker ASML Holding NV on Wednesday posted a better-than-expected quarterly earnings and forecast a double-digit growth for next year on strong end-demand for electronics devices.

The company reported sales of 3.96 billion euros ($4.65 billion) in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, ahead of analyst estimates of 3.7 billion euros, and a net profit of 1.06 billion euros. In the third quarter of 2019, ASML reported net profit of 627 million euros and sales of 3 billion euros.

ASML Chief Financial Officer Roger Dassen forecast sales of 3.7 billion euros in the fourth quarter and said the company expected “low double digit” growth in 2021.

ASML has a near monopoly on lithography systems, enormous machines that can cost up to $200 million each and play a vital role in the manufacture of computer chips, mapping out their circuitry.

ASML’s customers include major chipmakers, notably global market leader Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, followed by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Intel Corp.

Although ASML’s financial performance has not yet been hurt by U.S.-China tensions, it could be affected by a split in the supply lines for semiconductor production, which is highly integrated globally.

The Dutch company had already halted plans to sell its most advanced equipment to China after the U.S. government pressured the Netherlands not to grant export licenses under “dual use” military applications.

Last month, Washington asked U.S. equipment makers to seek a license to ship any equipment to SMIC, China’s oldest and biggest computer chipmaker, over military concerns.

The new U.S. trade curbs on SMIC mean ASML must now apply for a license to sell even older-generation equipment to China, Dassen said on Wednesday.

Still, the company raised its forecast for sales to Chinese customers to “a little over a billion” in 2020 from around 1 billion euros.

($1 = 0.8519 euros)

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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