Dutch chip firm ASML buys US’s Cymer for €2bn

DUTCH microchip equipment maker ASML is set to spend €1.95bn (£1.6bn) on Cymer, a US technology company whose technology is crucial to making the next generation of smartphone chips, the company said yesterday.

ASML saw a flood of investment from microchip manufacturers Samsung, Intel and others over the summer, in order to fund new research and development products.

The world’s leading microchip parts maker, which is seen as a bellwether for the European technology sector, also said yesterday that its performance in the last few months had been somewhat slower than expected due to more consumers choosing cheaper smartphones.

ASML posted a €275m pre-tax profit for the last quarter, slightly under expectations, along with sales of €1.2bn. Many global chipmakers, including heavyweight manufacturer Intel, have reported flagging sales over the summer due to consumers in southern European countries, especially Spain and Italy, buying cheaper phones.

Cymer’s light-based semiconductor-building technology allows chipmakers to ink intricate circuit patterns on microchips, which enables the production of smaller, faster and more efficient processors. ASML said an acquisition was the “natural evolution” in the two companies’ relationship, after they had worked closely together for the last 12 months.

Despite predictions that the deal will improve earnings in two years, ASML’s share price fell yesterday as management said the next quarter will be at the low end of expectations.