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ASML Shares Rise as Chip Technology Beats Schedule

ASML Holding NV, Europe’s largest semiconductor-equipment supplier, rose the most in more than a decade in Amsterdam after saying test production of technology used to make smaller, faster chips is ahead of schedule.

An ASML system was able to process 637 silicon wafers in a day, Peter Wennink, chief executive officer of Veldhoven, Netherlands-based ASML, said today. This achievement at customer International Business Machines Corp. puts progress in the development of a new chip-making technique called extreme ultraviolet lithography ahead of schedule, the company said. A wafer is a silicon disk on which chips are built.

EUV is considered crucial to the production of future semiconductors that are more capable yet use less power. Delays in the introduction of machinery have caused concern that the technique for burning the electronic circuits that give the chips their function may not be viable.

“It’s good to have positive news on the development of EUV for a change,” Edwin de Jong, an analyst at SNS Securities, said by phone, adding that it doesn’t change his cautious view on the longer-term development of EUV. “It was successful one day, on one location, that doesn’t mean this will be a consistent performance,” he said. “There’s no reason for me to say that EUV machines will be sold quicker.”

De Jong maintained his hold recommendation on the stock and 66-euro price target.

The stock rose 14 percent, the biggest jump since November 2002, to 70.88 euros at the close of trading.

Postponed Deliveries

As clients request upgrades, delivery of three EUV systems planned for 2014 will be postponed until 2015, ASML said on July 16.

ASML said at the time that customers need to expose about 100 wafers a day for process development using EUV technology, rising to 500 wafers by the end of the year for test production. The company also said that it’s making progress to meet customers’ requirement to expose about 1,500 wafers a day for volume production in 2016.

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