Post-Fire, ASML Expects 20% Revenue Growth in 2022

Article By : Alan Patterson

The IC gear maker said it has recovered from a recent fire, focusing now on meeting surging demand.

ASML, the lone supplier of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography equipment used by chipmakers to extend Moore’s Law, has shrugged off damage from a fire at a Berlin plant and expects sales this year to grow by about 20 percent.

“We currently believe that we can manage the situation, and that we will not see a significant impact on our EUV output in the year 2022,” ASML CEO Peter Wennink said after the company announced its quarterly results this week. “We expect about 20 percent growth as compared to 2021.”

During the first quarter of 2021, ASML received from Intel Corp. the first order for its EXE:5200, the equipment vendor’s latest high-volume EUV manufacturing tool. Shipments are scheduled to begin in 2024. ASML said the EXE:5200 would allow chipmakers to reach process nodes well beyond the current threshold–2nm–for at least another ten years.

EUV and legacy deep-ultraviolet (DUV) equipment each contribute about half of ASML’s revenue. Along with Intel, ASML sells EUV tools to foundries manufacturing at leading process nodes, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung, as well as memory chip makers like Micron and SK Hynix.

ASML sells DUV equipment to those making chips at less advanced nodes. Many are scrambling to meet demand from car and electronics manufacturers that have shuttered factories due to semiconductor shortages.
“DUV is particularly strong,” Wennink said. “It’s across all industries — memory, logic.” Demand is “driven by the chip shortage everybody knows about.”

Unprecedented demand

“Demand significantly exceeds our capacity,” Wennink added. “It’s unprecedented.”

Surging demand is being driven by chips used in IoT devices, he said, along with the lingering effects of the pandemic and continuing semiconductor shortages.

ASML is running full tilt, and that’s a concern for the company.

“If you are at maximum capacity, you have to be very careful and very much monitoring any disturbances,” Wennink said. “If there is a disturbance, you don’t have any buffer left.”

As the company races to meet demand, it hired nearly 6,000 new workers in 2021, about 20 percent of the total workforce of 31,000.

One of the disturbances Wennink referred to was a recent fire at an ASML facility in Berlin. “We were able to put the fire out in a couple of hours, but still there was significant damage. For DUV, although there were some initial disturbances, we don’t think there is going to be any impact on our output for 2022.”

The fire occurred in the area where ASML makes EUV wafer clamps. The company said it expects no significant impact on production of EUV tools.

ASML said last year it plans to offer customers equipment during the first half of 2023 that takes EUV numerical aperture (NA) to 0.55 NA from the existing 0.33 NA.

EXE:5200 customer Intel was also the first to purchase ASML’s earlier Twinscan EXE:5000 system in 2018. The largest U.S. chipmaker expects to start manufacturing with high-NA EUV in 2025.

Both systems’ 0.55 numerical aperture enables higher-resolution patterning of transistor features at the 2-nm node and lower.

As demand soars for chipmaking gear, Winnink predicted the global semiconductor industry would double in size to $1 trillion by the end of the decade.

“We have underestimated the long-term growth profile of the company. We need to catch up. How do we do that? We build capacity,” he added.

This article was originally published on EE Times.

Alan Patterson has worked as an electronics journalist in Asia for most of his career. In addition to EE Times, he has been a reporter and an editor for Bloomberg News and Dow Jones Newswires. He has lived for more than 30 years in Hong Kong and Taipei and has covered tech companies in the greater China region during that time.

 

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