ASML Holding NV, a key supplier to Intel Corp. and other computer chip makers, on Monday reported a net loss for the fourth quarter due to restructuring charges and weak demand.
The net loss was euro88 million ($116 million), compared with a net profit of euro173 million in the same period a year ago. The latest figure includes a restructuring charge of euro138 million after the company announced plans in December to cut 1,000 jobs, around 10 percent of its work force.
Sales were euro494 million, down 48 percent, and the company's outlook for 2009 was grim.
"The severity of the global economic downturn has caused semiconductor manufacturers to delay their investment plans," Chief Executive Eric Meurice said in a statement.
"The uncertainty as to the timing of a semiconductor end-product demand pickup ... makes a recovery prediction impossible."
ASML makes lithography systems, the machines used to map out the circuitry of semiconductors. Customers include Intel, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., while its main competitors are Nikon Corp. and Canon Inc. of Japan.
The company had just euro127 million worth of new orders in the fourth quarter, but its backlog of orders _ some already delayed from earlier quarters _ is euro755 million.
ASML said its current restructuring would save around euro50 million per quarter and it expected to have positive cash flow from operations in the first quarter.
Shares fell 3 percent to euro11.54 in early trading in Amsterdam.
Analyst Eric de Graaf of Petercam Securities said the results were in line with expectations, and he believes the chip market is now at its low point. But he said ASML shares remain overpriced.
Chipmakers' "need for additional capacity is currently nonexistent. On top of that their room for investments is restrained by losses and difficulties in financing the equipment," de Graaf said.
He said demand for ASML products may take a long time to rematerialize and advised investors to sell their shares.