ASML Boosts Revenue Outlook On China Demand

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

Dutch chipmaking equipment manufacturer ASML boosts full-year revenue estimate as Chinese customers stockpile gear

Semiconductor equipment giant ASML boosted its revenue expectation for full-year 2023 as it sees heavy demand from Chinese customers ahead of tighter export controls later this year.

The firm said it expects net sales this year to grow 30 percent over last year, up from a previous prediction of 25 percent growth, after net sales and profits for the second quarter came in higher than analysts’ expectations.

Chinese firms represented about 24 percent of shipments in the second quarter, as companies stockpile chipmaking equipment ahead of controls set to take effect in September.

From that date Dutch companies such as ASML will be obliged to apply for licenses to sell some equipment abroad, including ASML’s higher-end deep ultraviolet (DUV) machines, which can currently be sold to China without a licence.

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ASML is already prohibited from selling its top-end extreme ultraviolet (EUV) machines to Chinese firms.

The company’s chief executive Peter Wennick said ASML is monitoring reports that the US is seeking further restrictions on advanced semiconductor exports to China, but said he does not expect any additional US measures to affect the company’s outlook for this year.

Chinese firms are snapping up older systems such as DUV machines even as exports of EUV systems to the US and Taiwan falter amidst slowing macroeconomic conditions and skills shortages.

“Our Chinese customers say: ‘We are happy to take the machines that others don’t want’, because their fabs are ready and they can take the tools that become available,” Wennick said in a video interview released by the firm.

Economic concerns

Nevertheless Wennick signalled caution due to broader economic uncertainties, which are affecting demand for electronics and causing chipmakers to in turn slow down chip production and their use of ASML chipmaking gear.

“Our customers across different market segments are currently more cautious due to continued macro-economic uncertainties, and therefore expect a later recovery of their markets. Also, the shape of the recovery slope is still unclear,” he said in a statement.