ASML buys 25% of Zeiss shares “to strengthen partnership in


Door Bart Brouwers
  • 3 November 2016

ASML plans to buy 24.9% of ZEISS subsidiary Carl Zeiss SMT for EUR 1 billion in cash. This way, ASML expects to facilitate the development of entirely new High NA optical system for the future generation of Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography systems. Next to that, ASML will support Carl Zeiss SMT`s R&D for approximately EUR 760 million over the next 6 years.

ASML is a key supplier of semiconductor patterning products and services used by the world`s top producers of microchips. With its high-performance optics Carl Zeiss SMT supplies an essential subsystem of ASML’s semiconductor lithography scanners and is ASML`s most important strategic partner. ASML and Carl Zeiss SMT have been in close partnership for more than 30 years. Both firms have grown strongly over the last decades benefiting from each other`s strengths.

A new cycle of investments required for the development of an entirely new optical system for the future generation of EUV, expected to be provided to the chip making industry in the first few years of the next decade, has triggered the partners to take a further step in the collaboration.

In 2018 the first chips made on current technology EUV scanners are expected to roll off the production lines, ASML’s ceo Peter Wennink says. “A lot of work is still being done to ensure the introduction of EUV in volume manufacturing, in tight conjunction with our highly successful immersion scanners which we continue to improve. Yet ASML and ZEISS are looking beyond this important milestone. We see a long and successful future for EUV lithography in advanced chip manufacturing and with this agreement we set the right conditions for development of the next generation of EUV by ASML and Carl Zeiss SMT, so that our customers can reap the rewards of their EUV investments up to the end of the next decade.”

For Zeiss the agreement offers “a clear road for advanced lithography to support the new concepts and designs for future generations of advanced chips” Zeiss ceo Michael Klaschke says. “After the many years of fruitful partnership, we see this agreement as a further strong endorsement of our long term cooperation which allows us to further expand our joint leadership that we have already accomplished together.”

In addition to the agreement of the minority interest, the two companies have also agreed that ASML will support Carl Zeiss SMT`s research and development (R&D) for approximately EUR 220 million as well as capital expenditures and other supply chain investments for approximately EUR 540 million over the next 6 years.

These investments will predominantly be allocated at Carl Zeiss SMT’s main location in Oberkochen, Germany, and will primarily be used for capacity and resource expansions.

The transaction has been approved by both companies’ supervisory boards. ASML will fund the transaction from available cash, potentially supplemented by new debt. The transaction is subject to regulatory clearance and is expected to be closed in the second quarter of 2017.