SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Under pressure on a number of fronts, ASM International N.V. has signed a letter of intent to sell its majority-owned subsidiary NanoPhotonics AG, a supplier of inspection gear.
The buyer was not identified, however. But the move is in accordance with ASMI's efforts to become profitable within its front-end operations. In the second quarter of 2008, ASMI has recorded an impairment charge of 1.4 million euros ($2.2 million) related to goodwill of its investment in NanoPhotonics (Mainz, Germany).
ASMI is under pressure from a major shareholder to break the company into two parts--front-end and back-end. The back-end unit is a winner, but the front-end operation is a money loser.
At the same time, Applied Materials Inc. has launched a takeover bid for ASMI. Applied is interested in ASMI's high-k equipment business. ASMI's main customer is Intel Corp.
ASMI said net sales for the second quarter of 2008 were 209.4 million euros ($326.7 million), up 6 percent from the first quarter of 2008 and down 18 percent from the second quarter of 2007.
Net earnings of the second quarter of 2008 were 9.6 million euros ($15 million), as compared to net earnings of 12.6 million euros ($19.6 million) for the first quarter of 2008 and net earnings of 14.9 million euros ($23.2 million) for the second quarter of 2007.
ASMI's positive results were due to its back-end operations.