LONDON – First-quarter revenues and profit at ASML Holding NV (Veldhoven, The Netherlands) fell sequentially and year-on-year but this was in line with expectations and the company exceeded guidance and provided an upbeat outlook for the rest of the year.
The world's supplier of lithography equipment also announced that Eric Meurice would step down as CEO at the end of the second quarter to be replaced by current CFO Peter Wennink. Meurice, who has led ASML since October 2004, will continue as chairman until March 31, 2014
Sales in 1Q13 fell 29 percent compared to the same quarter a year before, to 892 million euro (about $1.17 billion). The company made a net profit of 96.2 million euro (about $125 million) compared with a net profit of 282 million euro (about $370 million) on sales of 1.05 billion euro (about $1.38 billion) in the first quarter of 2012.
The company also announced it would conduct a 1 billion euro (about $1.3 billion) share buy-back program to take place during 2013 and 2014.
"We achieved first quarter sales ahead of – and gross margin in line with – our guidance, and reiterate our expectation for a sales acceleration during the year, with a second quarter markedly stronger than the first quarter and a large second half, leading to expected 2013 full year net sales at a similar level to that of 2012," said Meurice, in a statement.
Meurice said the industry was preparing for a lithography-intensive investment in production at the 20-nm to 14-nm process node and that while sales of equipment to memory makers was slow increasing memory prices were an encouraging sign.
On the extreme ultaviolet lithography Meurice said that progress is being made as expected with a production ramp in 2015 supported by NXE:3300B scanners. Meurice added that two such machines are being prepared for shipment and installation in Q2 and Q3 of 2013.
ASML remains very much a one trick pony, incredibly vulnerable to "black swan" innovation a la Clayton Christiansen. They have basically a single product, serving a single market, without meaningful competition. This circumstance virtually always produces corporate arrogance and hubris, and a complacency which resists change. Neither Eric, Peter, or Martin, while competent, seem sufficiently unique or imaginative to resist this misleadingly comfortable environment. ASML desperately needs new products, new technologies, and/or new markets.