Chip machine maker ASML posts growth despite COVID-19

Taipei Times

October 15, 2020

Dutch microchip machine maker ASML Holding NV yesterday reported better-than-expected third-quarter sales, with the tech sector still fueling demand despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company is the world’s leading provider of systems used by the semiconductor industry to manufacture the chips that go in products from mobile phones to cars, and its performance is seen as a bellwether for the information technology industry.

“We have seen no major disruptions due to COVID-19 during the last quarter,” ASML president Peter Wennink said in an earnings statement.

Trainees learn how to build and operate an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) machine at ASML Holding NV’s training center in Tainan on Aug. 20.

Photo: Reuters

Sales rose 33 percent from the same quarter last year to 4 billion euros (US$4.7 billion) — which Wennink said was “above our guidance” — and 19 percent from the second quarter.

Net profit also rose 69 percent to 1.1 billion euros from last year and 41 percent from the second quarter.

The company shipped 10 of its top-level extreme ultraviolet (EUV) machines, its top-end product used to print chips for mobile phones and computers, Wennink said.

The machines, which cost about 120 million euros each, make it possible to produce smaller, faster and higher capacity microprocessors.

ASML forecasts sales to be slightly lower in the fourth quarter at between 3.6 billion and 3.8 billion euros, but said that would confirm its outlook for the whole of this year.

Wennink said the company expects “low double-digit growth” next year.

“There are of course uncertainties due to the macro environment, including the economic impact of COVID-19 and geopolitical developments,” he said.

However, the tech factors driving ASML’s growth, such as the 5G network that Apple Inc’s new iPhones will rely on, are “still in place” and would “fuel demand,” he said.