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Europe's ASML Swings to Loss

The maker of semiconductor equipment said it swung to a loss of 117 million euros ($155 million) in the first quarter as semiconductor demand 'collapsed.'

Updated from 2:02 a.m. EDT



, Europe's biggest maker of semiconductor equipment, swung to a loss of 117 million euros ($155 million) in the first quarter, saying semiconductor demand "collapsed" in the period.

The company reported year-earlier earnings of 145 million euros.

Sales in the quarter fell to 184 million euros from 919 million euros in the same period of 2008.

"As expected, semiconductor equipment demand collapsed in the first quarter of 2009 as customers went through inventory corrections and production capacity adjustments," said Eric Meurice, president and CEO, in a statement Wednesday. "In spite of these exceptional circumstances, ASML was able to generate cash, thanks to the execution of our cost savings program and a more than 300 million euros working capital reduction."

ASML said it is seeing signs of a "pick-up" in technology purchases. The company expects second-quarter net sales of 210 million euros to 230 million euros and gross margin of about 9%.

The company booked 207 million euros worth of new orders in the first quarter, and its order backlog increased to 853 million euros from 755 million euros at year-end.

ASML said sales should recover to at least 400 million euros by the fourth quarter of 2009.

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