ASML has a good year, and says EUV lithography is advancing

Veldhoven, The Netherlands--ASML, which produces optical lithography systems for the semiconductor industry, has had a good year indeed.

Veldhoven, The Netherlands--ASML, which produces optical lithography systems for the semiconductor industry, has had a good year indeed. The company just announced its 2010 fourth-quarter and full-year results, showing record sales, profit, and bookings.

Results
ASML's Q4 2010 net sales were EUR 1.521 million, versus Q3 2010 net sales of EUR 1.176 million (and versus Q4 2009 net sales of EUR 581 million). Full-year 2010 net sales were EUR 4.508 million, up 182.4% versus 2009 net sales of EUR 1,596 million.

Q4 2010 net income was EUR 407 million, or 26.7% of net sales, versus a Q3 2010 net income of EUR 269 million, or 22.8% of net sales (and versus a Q4 2009 net income of EUR 50 million, or 8.7% of net sales). Full-year 2010 net income amounted to EUR 1.022 million, or 22.7% of net sales, compared with a 2009 net loss of EUR 151 million, or 9.5% of net sales.

Q4 2010 net bookings were EUR 2,315 million, with 117 lithography systems, including 104 new and 13 used systems, leading to a systems backlog valued at EUR 3.856 million as of December 31, 2010.

ASML produces leading-edge wafer scanners, with the highest-resolution versions using light at 193 nm, water immersion, and multiple exposures to achieve silicon-chip feature sizes down to 32 nm. The company is working on future extreme UV (EUV) wafer scanners that use all-reflective optics and light at 13 nm; it already has shipped a working version that relies on an EUV light source produced by Cymer (San Diego, CA).

"The fourth quarter was a strong close to a remarkable year in the history of ASML," said Eric Meurice, president and chief executive officer of ASML. He noted that during the fourth quarter, ASML shipped the first of its second-generation EUV systems (the NXE:3100) and successfully exposed wafers at a customer manufacturing site. "In coming months, five more customers will receive their NXE:3100 systems, as EUV is now confirmed the most likely lithography platform to continue Moore's Law towards smaller, cheaper and more energy-efficient semiconductors," Meurice added.

Outlook
"The overall macro-economic drivers are still mixed since the end of the summer, but the semiconductor market is sustained by a very rich leading-edge technology mix, which in turn justifies the large backlog for our products," said Meurice. "Indeed, NAND flash memory, DRAM memory, microprocessors, and overall logic manufacturers are all ramping their new nodes at the same time, in parallel to some strategic or catch-up investments in lithography, thus ensuring a very positive short-term to mid-term investment level. Beyond 2011, we foresee further technology transitions through the insertion of EUV, based on our third-generation platform, the NXE:3300, for which we have received nine orders to date. It is certainly too early to commit numbers for 2012, as the industry still needs a number of months to confirm EUV plans, performance, and roadmaps, but it is encouraging to envision this other engine of growth for 2012 and beyond."

Posted by John Wallace

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