Bloomberg News

ASML Shares Drop in Amsterdam on Absence of Order Guidance

April 18, 2012

ASML Holding NV (ASML) dropped the most in six months after Europe’s biggest semiconductor equipment maker didn’t provide guidance for future orders in its first-quarter results.

The shares fell as much as 4 percent in Amsterdam, the most since Oct. 11, and were down 3.2 percent at 36.70 euros as of 2:18 pm, reducing the company’s market value to 15.4 billion euros ($20.2 billion). Before today, the shares had climbed 17 percent this year.

“A guidance on second-quarter orders is missing as the group has fewer customers but bigger orders that are harder to predict,’ said Stephane Houri, an analyst at Natixis Securities, in a note to clients. Natixis recommends buying ASML shares.

ASML, based in Veldhoven, Netherlands, did provide an outlook for sales, saying revenue in the second and third quarters will be stable, driven by demand for advanced chips for smartphones and tablets. Such products have been driving demand for advanced chip technology, increasing sales at the company, which makes machines that produce chips for Nokia Oyj (NOK1V)’s mobile phones and Apple Inc. (AAPL:US)’s iPads.

“We see sales stability at current first-quarter levels for the next two quarters with clear indications that the logic segment will continue its strong demand trend for the remainder of the year,” Chief Executive Officer Eric Meurice said in a statement.

Steady Sales

Sales in the first quarter rose to 1.25 billion euros from 1.21 billion euros in the fourth quarter and compared with 1.45 billion a year earlier. For the second quarter, ASML expects sales about 1.2 billion euros, in line with the average estimate of 1.19 billion euros in a Bloomberg survey of 16 analysts.

The sales projection is largely underpinned by logic customers, said Chief Financial Officer Peter Wennink in an interview on the company’s website. ”Logic chips go straight into the things that are currently very hot, everything that has to do with mobile, media and Internet.”

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (2330) is one of ASML’s largest clients. It expects its 2012 capital expenditure will exceed the $7.3 billion of last year, higher than originally forecast, Elizabeth Sun, a spokeswoman for the Hsinchu, Taiwan- based company, said by phone today, citing comments by Chairman Morris Chang. Chang said April 9 the budget would be increased amid better-than-expected demand.

ASML’s net bookings, excluding second-generation extreme ultraviolet, lithography systems, were 865 million euros in the first quarter. Net income rose to 282 million euros, compared with 395 million euros a year earlier, matching the average estimate of 284 million euros from 13 analysts.

“The results are pretty much in line with expectations,” said Niels de Zwart an Amsterdam-based analyst at ING. De Zwart, who has a hold-rating on ASML, expected bookings of 850 million euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maaike Noordhuis in Amsterdam at mnoordhuis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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