ASML NV (ASML) - Get Report , a Dutch supplier of tools and equipment for the semiconductor industry, hit a record high Wednesday after stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings revived prospects to a renewed 'supercycle' in global chip demand.
The Amsterdam-based group said earnings for the three-months ending in December surged 23% to €644 million, topping analysts' forecasts of €4545 million, as sales jumped 34% to €2.56 billion with a gross margin of 45.2%. ASML also said that sales in the first three months of this year would likely hit €2.2 billion and that margins would improve to as high a 48%.
"These results reflect our technology leadership and the success of our comprehensive product portfolio as well as the strong growth fundamentals in our industry, which enable the continued innovation in personal electronics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and mobility," said CEO Peter Wennink. "For 2018 we expect continued solid growth of sales and profitability."
Sales of ASML's key extreme ultraviolet lithography systems, or EUV, machines, which design complex chips used by, sector titans such as Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) - Get Report and cost as much as €100 million each, topped €1.1 billion last year, Wennink said, indicating that "preparations for inserting EUV into high-volume chip manufacturing shifted into a higher gear."
"This is underlined by orders for 10 more EUV systems in the fourth quarter. Sales of our Holistic Lithography and Installed Base Management products also showed significant growth in 2017," he added, while the company's earnings statement indicated total order backlog of €6.7 billion.
ASML shares were marked 5.27% higher by late morning in Amsterdam and changing hands at €161.75 each after hitting a record €162.65 earlier in the session and extending their three-month gain to 9.36%.
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