Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML Holding N.V. reported Wednesday higher profit and sales in its fourth quarter, but weak margin and bookings. Further, the company issued first-quarter forecast, and said it expects higher sales and margin in fiscal 2023. Shares of ASML were losing around 1 percent in the morning trading in Amsterdam as well as in pre-market activity on Nasdaq.
ASML President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Wennink said, “We continue to see uncertainty in the market caused by inflation, rising interest rates, risk of recession and geopolitical developments related to export controls. However, our customers indicate that they expect the market to rebound in the second half of the year. Considering our order lead times and the strategic nature of lithography investments, demand for our systems therefore remains strong.”
Looking ahead for the first quarter, the company expects net sales to be between 6.1 billion euros and 6.5 billion euros with a gross margin between 49 percent and 50 percent.
For 2023, ASML expects continued strong growth with a net sales increase of more than 25 percent and a slight improvement in gross margin, relative to 2022.
In fiscal 2022, the company’s net sales were 21.17 billion euros, and gross margin was 50.5 percent.
ASML noted that the value of fast shipments in 2022 leading to delayed revenue recognition into 2023 is around 3.1 billion euros.
Further, the company plans to declare a total dividend for the year 2022 of 5.80 euros per ordinary share, a 5.5 percent increase from 2021. An interim dividend of 1.37 euros per ordinary share will be made payable on February 15.
In the fourth quarter, net income rose to 1.82 billion euros or 4.60 euros per share from 1.77 billion euros or 4.38 euros per share in the same quarter last year.
Gross margin, meanwhile, fell to 51.5 percent from 54.2 percent last year.
Total net sales for the fourth quarter grew to 6.43 billion euros from 4.99 billion euros in the previous year.
Net system sales grew to 4.75 billion euros from last year’s 3.46 billion euros. Net service and field option sales also grew to 1.68 billion euros from 1.52 billion euros a year ago.
Sales of lithography systems grew to 106 units from prior year’s 82 units.
Meanwhile, quarterly net bookings in the fourth quarter were 6.32 billion euros, down from 7.05 billion euros a year ago. Net bookings lithography systems fell to 101 units from 191 units last year.
In Amsterdam, ASML shares were trading at 605.60 euros, down 1.64 percent. In pre-market activity on Nasdaq, the shares were trading at $664, down 0.90 percent.
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