Lithography systems manufacturer ASML (NASDAQ; Euronext Amsterdamn: ASML) reported improved net sales in the final quarter of 2009 (“Q4 2009”) and a rising order book at the end of the year (31 December 2009).
Lithography systems are utilized by the semiconductor industry in the manufacturing of integrated circuits or chips.
ASML reported net sales of €581 million in Q4 2009, which was an improvement on both the previous quarter and comparative quarter in the previous year (Q3 2009 €555 million; Q4 2008:€494 million). Overall, 2009 was a difficult year for the semiconductor and associated industries, reflected in ASML’s full year net sales figure of €1.596 billion, a drop of 46% on 2008 (€2.954 billion).
Q4 2009 net income also improved on the previous quarter, rising to €50 million, or 8.7% of net sales, compared to €20 million (3.6% of net sales) in Q3 2009. This was also a vast improvement on Q4 2008 when the company reported a net loss of €88 million. For the full year, ASML posted a net loss of €151 million, or 9.5% of sales compared to a net profit of €322 million (10.9% of net sales) in FY 2008.
Most encouraging of all for ASML, the company reported an increase in its order backlog at the end of the year to €1.85 billion (backlog as of September 27, 2009 was €1.35 billion).
"We booked EUR 956 million of systems in the fourth quarter of 2009 and expect bookings of the same order of magnitude for the first quarter of 2010, confirming an upturn of the semiconductor industry," Eric Meurice said. "Of our backlog, 49 units are for new immersion systems, including 17 advanced NXT:1950i scanners. The immersion bookings continue to be led by technology upgrades required to manufacture our customers' richer mix of new semiconductor designs: mainly 40 nanometer (nm) DRAM memory chips and Logic integrated circuits, but also 20s and 30s nm NAND Flash memory products. Shipments will continue to grow, with the first quarter somewhat restricted, due to standard - long - equipment industry production lead times and new product introduction challenges, followed by a much higher second quarter," Meurice added.
ASML is forecasting net sales in the range of €700 million in Q1 2010 and €950 million in Q2 2010.
The company intends to pay a full year dividend of €0.20 per share, unchanged from 2008.