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Dutch tech firm ASML says profits, sales jump in 2023



Dutch tech giant ASML, which supplies chipmaking machines to the semiconductor industry, reported Wednesday a rise in annual net profit despite a high-tech trade spat between China and the West.

Net profits came in at 7.8 billion euros ($8.5 billion) for 2023, the firm said in its annual results statement, compared to 5.6 billion euros the previous year.

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“The semiconductor industry continues to work through the bottom of the cycle,” CEO Peter Wennink said in a statement.

“Although our customers are still not certain about the shape of the semiconductor market recovery this year, there are some positive signs,” he added.

ASML is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of equipment to make state-of-the-art semiconductor chips, which power everything from mobile phones to cars.

But the semiconductor industry has become a geopolitical battleground, as the West seeks to restrict China’s access over fears the chips could be used for advanced weaponry.

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ASML announced earlier this month that it had been blocked from exporting “a small number” of its advanced machines to China, amid reports of US pressure on the Dutch government.At the time, Beijing lashed out at what it called “bullying behaviour” by Washington, adding that it “seriously violates international trade rules”.

China has described the restrictions placed on exports as “technological terrorism”.

Amid the trade tensions with China, there are also concerns Beijing may introduce its own export controls on gallium and germanium — two rare earth metals critical for the manufacture of semiconductors.

ASML has shrugged off the financial impact of the geopolitical headwinds, with top officials saying the firm is well placed to weather the storm.

The company has said it expects flat sales this year, which it has called a “transition year”, before registering “significant growth” in 2025.

Net sales for 2023 came in at 27.6 billion euros, up from 21.1 billion euros in 2022.

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