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Dutch tech giant ASML Wednesday posted slightly weaker sales and profits in the third quarter compared with the previous three months, amid a growing semiconductor trade spat between the West and China.
But the firm, which makes cutting-edge machines for global semiconductor chip manufacturers, confirmed its expectations for a 30-percent jump in sales for the whole of 2023, as it looks to "significant growth in 2025" after what an expected "transition" year in 2024.
Third-quarter sales came in at 6.673 billion euros, down from 6.902 billion euros in the second quarter of the year, while net profit was 1.893 billion euros, compared to the 1.942 billion euros booked in the second quarter.
CEO Peter Winnink admitted that the industry was going through a tough period but insisted his firm was well placed to weather the storm.
"The semiconductor industry is currently working through the bottom of the cycle and our customers expect the inflection point to be visible by the end of this year," he said in a statement.
"We therefore expect 2024 to be a transition year. Based on our current perspective, we take a more conservative view and expect a revenue number similar to 2023," added Winnink.
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"But we also look at 2024 as an important year to prepare for significant growth that we expect for 2025."
ASML had forecast a range of between 6.5-7.0 billion euros for third-quarter sales. It said the fourth quarter was expected to be slightly better, between 6.7 and 7.1 billion euros.
The chip industry is facing difficulties due to severe political headwinds as China and the West compete for dominance in the sector.
Just one day before the ASML results, Washington said it was tightening its curbs on exports of state-of-the-art AI chips to Beijing.
ASML said however that it did not expect the measure to have a "material impact on our financial outlook for 2023 and for our longer-term scenarios for 2025 and 2030."
In June, the Dutch government said firms producing semiconductor-making equipment would need permission to export to foreign clients from September 2023.
ASML has also shrugged off those moves, saying they would have only a limited impact on the firm's business. Some of its top technology was already under export restrictions.
Amid the trade tensions with China, there are also concerns that Beijing may introduce its own export controls on gallium and germanium -- two rare earth metals critical for the manufacture of semiconductors.
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