AMSTERDAM (dpa-AFX) - Shares of ASML Holding N.V. were gaining more than 1 percent in Amsterdam trading after the Dutch semiconductor equipment maker reported Wednesday higher profit and net sales in its fourth quarter. The company also projects higher sales in fiscal 2022, and a 100 percent increase in total dividend.
ASML President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Wennink, said, 'For ASML, 2021 was a strong growth year in a dynamic environment. We experience higher demand for our systems than our production capacity can accommodate... The lower net sales guidance for the first quarter is due to a significant number of fast shipments, translating to approximately €2 billion of expected revenue shift from the first quarter to subsequent quarters.'
Looking ahead to the first quarter, ASML expects net sales between 3.3 billion and 3.5 billion euros, with gross margin of around 49 percent.
For fiscal 2022, sales growth is expected to be around 20 percent from the 18.61 billion euros reported in fiscal 2021.
In addition, the company said it intends to declare a total dividend over 2021 of 5.50 euros per ordinary share, including a final dividend proposal of 3.70 euros per ordinary share that would be made to the General Meeting .
Under its existing share buyback program, which will be closed by December 31, 2023, ASML intends to repurchase shares up to an amount of 9 billion euros. Of this, the company expects a total of up to 0.45 million shares will be used to cover employee share plans. ASML intends to cancel the remainder of the shares repurchased.
For the fourth quarter, net income rose to 1.77 billion euros from last year's 1.35 billion euros, and earnings per share grew to 4.38 euros from 3.23 euros.
The gross profit came in at 2.70 billion euros, compared to 2.21 billion euros last year, and gross margin was at 54.2 percent, up from 52 percent a year ago.
ASML said its total net sales for the fourth quarter rose to 4.98 billion euros from 4.25 billion euros a year ago. Net sales were 3.46 billion euros from net system sales and 1.52 billion euros from net service and field option sales, up from 3.20 billion euros and 1.06 billion euros, respectively, from last year.
In the quarter, sales of lithography systems increased to 82 units from 80 units last year.
Net bookings of lithography systems were 191 units, up from prior year's 123 units. The value of booked systems were 7.05 billion euros, up from 4.24 billion euros last year.
In Amsterdam, ASML shares were trading at 650 euros, up 1.34 percent.
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