ASML profit beats despite Berlin fire; sees 20% sales growth in 2022


FILE PHOTO: Company representatives and government officials cut a ribbon during the opening ceremony of the EUV training center at ASML Holding in Tainan, Taiwan, August 20, 2020. REUTERS/Ann Wang

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -ASML Holding NV, a key supplier to computer chip makers, on Wednesday reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings of 1.77 billion euros ($2.01 billion) and said it expected sales growth of 20% in 2022.

"The expected impact of the fire in part of a building at our Berlin site is included", in the 2022 growth forecast, the Chief Executive Officert Peter Wennink said in a statement.

"Based on our current insights, we believe we can manage the consequences of this fire without significant impact on our system output for 2022."

Analysts had expected net profit of 1.51 billion euros ($1.72 billion), up from 1.35 billion euros a year earlier, according to Refinitiv data. The earnings beat came from better than expected margins of 54.2%, as sales of 5 billion euros was slightly below analyst estimates of 5.1 billion euros.

ASML is trying to expand production as its customers, which include TSMC, Samsung Intel, invest heavily in new capacity to try to ease a global semiconductor shortage.

The company said it would continue to struggle to meet demand this year, and forecast first-quarter sales of 3.3-3.5 billion euros.

The lower number comes amid some of its systems being shipped to customers before they have gone through final testing, which means 2 billion euros in extra revenue will be recognised in future quarters, it added.

In September, it said it was benefiting from long-term trends in the electronics industry and expected double-digit annual sales growth throughout the 2020s.

The company also said on Wednesday it would double its 2021 dividend to 5.50 euros.

However, investors received a shock at the start of 2022, when the company suffered a fire at a factory in Berlin.

The Veldhoven, Netherlands-based company's shares, which quadrupled over 2018-2021, closed at 641.4 euros on Tuesday and are down 9.2% this year.

($1 = 0.8828 euros)

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Rashmi Aich)

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