ASML Veldhoven Expansion Gains Dutch Court Approval

ASML's TWINSCAN NXE:3400B semiconductor lithography tool. ASML chip

Expansion of ASML’s operations in The Netherlands receives court approval, after objections from two neighbours

The chip equipment maker ASML Holding has secured legal permission to expand its operations in its hometown in the Netherlands.

Reuters reported that the Netherlands’ Council of State ruled on Wednesday rejected objections from two neighbours, allowing ASML to continue with an expansion under way at its headquarters in Veldhoven.

The news will be welcome news for the Dutch government, after it handed over billions of euros in funding in order to keep its biggest company based in the Eindhoven suburb of Veldhoven, the Netherlands.

Installation completed and calibration begins.
Image credit Intel

Government funding

In March this year the Dutch government had announced it would spend 2.5 billion euros ($2.7 billion) “to strengthen business climate for chip industry in Brainport Eindhoven.”

The money will be used to improve transport and other infrastructure in the area, and in an effort to convince ASML not to move its operations abroad.

ASML had reportedly shocked the Dutch government into action earlier this year, after CEO Peter Wennink went public with complaints about domestic policy, including plans to end a tax break for skilled migrants which would make it harder for ASML to hire vital staff.

ASML also reportedly said the Dutch government has failed to invest properly to improve infrastructure in the Eindhoven area, from highways to housing to electrical grid improvements.

The Dutch government took note, especially after Shell and Unilever moved their headquarters to London after the Dutch government in 2018 was forced to renege on a promise to scrap a dividend withholding tax.

The Dutch government said at the time that the new investment in the region was designed to improve the “business climate for chip industry in the Eindhoven”, but it is clear it was hoping to convince ASML to stay in the country.

ASML is Europe’s largest tech firm and is the biggest supplier of equipment to computer chip makers globally.

Veldhoven expansion

Now Reuters has reported that ASML has gained the legal permission to continue an expansion at its headquarters in Veldhoven.

The Netherlands’ Council of State, which is the country’s highest administrative court, ruled that complaints that the new facilities would lead to traffic and noise problems were insufficient grounds to stop or alter the project, which was approved by Veldhoven’s town council in 2022.

The court reportedly said that suggestions the company could build its facilities partly below ground would not work in practice because of the delicate nature of the large machines ASML will assemble at the site.

“Before components are stabilised and packaged, any unexpected movement would wreck the machine,” judges said in their decision.

The Veldhoven expansion is intended to meet ASML’s near-term growth needs.

Reuters reported that the firm had signed a letter of intent in April regarding a larger expansion project in an undeveloped area in the north of the neighbouring city of Eindhoven large enough to house 20,000 additional workers from around 2030.