Nikon Corp. (7731), Japan’s largest chipmaking lithograph maker, plunged the most in more than a year in Tokyo after Intel Corp. (INTC:US), its second-biggest customer, agreed to invest as much as $4.1 billion in ASML Holding NV. (ASML)
Nikon fell 7 percent, the biggest drop since March 2011, to close at 2,336 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The Tokyo-based company competes with ASML in the chip-lithography market.
Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor maker, will take an initial 10 percent stake in ASML for about $2.1 billion and later take an additional 5 percent for about $1 billion, pending shareholder approval, the Santa Clara, California-based company said yesterday in a statement. ASML, based in Veldhoven, Netherlands, will get about $1 billion more from the chipmaker in stages to speed delivery of equipment needed for larger silicon wafer-based production.
“We interpret the move as Intel throwing in the towel on Nikon,” Pierre Ferragu, a London-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd., said in a note. Intel needs to control costs as competition is intensifying, he said.
ASML and Nikon chip-lithography machines can take years to prepare and deliver. Intel and its competitors need to retool manufacturing as they transition to 450-millimeter disks of silicon from the current 300-millimeter standard, a move designed to increase output and reduce costs.
Intel accounts for about 4.4 percent of Nikon’s annual revenue, the largest portion after Samsung Electronics Co., which comprises about 6.4 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Nikon is also the world’s second-biggest maker of professional-grade cameras.
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