by Staff Writers
The Hague (AFP) April 18, 2012
The Dutch company ASML, a supplier of computer chip-making systems and a global high-tech bellwether, posted on Wednesday a 28 percent drop in first-quarter profit owing to weaker demand.
Net profit stood at 282 million euros ($370 million), slightly better than an average analyst forecast of 279 million euros compiled by Dow Jones Newswires.
Group sales dipped by 13.8 percent to 1.25 billion euros, but stayed within ASML's targets, a company statement said, following a drop in global demand for microprocessors.
ASML stressed however that it expected sales to remain stable until at least September.
"Financial results in the first quarter were in line with our guidance, supporting our expectations for first half 2012 net sales of about 2.4 billion euros," ASML chief executive Eric Meurice said.
"We see sales stability at current Q1 levels for the next two quarters," he added.
ASML picked up 36 new orders worth 865 million euros in the first quarter, compared with 37 new orders in the fourth quarter last year, it said.
The group's order book was now worth 1.6 billion euros, it said.
ASML operates in 16 countries and is considered an accurate indicator of conditions in the microprocessing industry.
It manufactures machines used to make integrated circuits and semiconductors and has 8,000 full-time employees.
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