Strong DUV demand drove ASML's solid Q1 results, with multiple EUV equipment orders, including High-NA to demonstrate the adoption of EUV technology from the chip making industry.
According to the Dutch maker of EUV equipment, its latest NXT machines have shown capability to run in excess of the productivity milestone of 6,000 wafers per day, with an average five percent productivity increase over 12 months.
During the Q1, ASML says it has shipped multiple e-beam-based pattern fidelity metrology systems (ePfm5) which deliver high resolution capability to detect systematic defects. The specific systems combine ASML's e-beam metrology with its computational lithography software in order to provide e-beam-based feedback to the lithography scanner in a production environment. ASML says it also demonstrated the first proof of concept of multiple e-beams to further improve productivity of e-beam metrology and expand the application opportunity in high volume production.
ASML also reported improvements in the throughput of its EUV platform, with more than 125 wafers per hour measured at a customer site (testing based on ASML's Acceptance Test Procedures - ATP). The company also demonstrated 140 wafers per hour at ASML.
"Our first quarter sales were somewhat stronger than expected and our gross margin was above our guidance, mostly driven by the volume and mix of our DUV and holistic litho products. During the quarter we shipped three EUV systems and an additional system is in the process of being shipped. The continued growth of our EUV business is confirmed by nine more orders for NXE:3400B EUV systems in Q1. Customers have publicly discussed taking EUV into high volume production starting by the end of this year. We will support this launch with a plan to ship 20 EUV systems in 2018 and have production capacity for at least 30 systems in 2019. Furthermore, regarding the next-generation EUV platform, High-NA, we received the first four orders from three customers and we also sold options to buy eight more systems. High-NA is an extension of EUV lithography and will enable geometric chip scaling beyond the next decade, offering a resolution and overlay capability which is 70 percent better than today's most advanced EUV systems," said ASML President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Wennink.
"All in all, we saw a good start of the year and we reiterate our expectation for continued solid growth in 2018, both in sales and profitability."
ASML reported Q1 net sales of EUR 2.29 billion, net income EUR 540 million, gross margin 48.7 percent. The company expects Q2 2018 net sales between EUR 2.5 billion and EUR 2.6 billion and a gross margin around 43 percent reflecting a significant increase in EUV sales.