ASML forecasts semiconductor rebound after first quarter disappoints


Even if its first quarter disappointed investors, ASML, the provider of equipment for chip fabrication, believed that the semiconductor sector was on pace to recover in the second half of the year.

Chipmakers rely on the Netherlands-based group’s lithography equipment. The company said on Wednesday that net bookings, or client orders that haven’t been fulfilled yet, decreased to €3.6 billion in the first quarter from €9.2 billion in the fourth quarter of last year. More than €5 billion in bookings was anticipated by analysts.

The slump in the semiconductor sector and the restrictions that limit its ability to sell in China have both harmed ASML.

The longtime CEO of ASML, Peter Wennink, who is leaving the company later this month, reaffirmed his view that 2024 would be a “transition year,” with trading strengthening in the second half as the sector “continued [its] recovery from the downturn.” The business did not alter its 2024 projection.

The group’s shares were down 6% in early trade on Wednesday.

Net revenues for the firm in the first quarter decreased to €5.3 billion from €6.7 billion in the same time last year and €7.2 billion in the fourth quarter. At €1.2 billion, net income for the quarter decreased 37% from the same time last year.

China accounted for about half of ASML’s system sales, despite US efforts to limit the country’s imports of its expensive machinery. Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light is used by its lithography tools to etch circuits onto silicon wafers, allowing for ever-smaller transistor designs that result in more powerful devices.

Wennink will be succeeded by veteran of the semiconductor business Christophe Fouquet, who has been with ASML since 2008.

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