Intel sells significant portion of its ASML shares

Intel has significantly reduced its package of shares in ASML. The chip manufacturer owned 14.5 percent of ASML, but has reduced that to 8.5 percent. Earlier, Samsung and TSMC sold large amounts of ASML shares.

The reduction in the number of ASML shares by Intel is apparent from information from stock market regulator AFM, De Beurs pointed out. The shares are in the name of Stichting Administratiekantoor Makchab, which manages Intel’s interests in ASML shares.

A reason for lowering the stake in ASML has not been given. Intel has had a stake of more than 14 percent since 2012. The company acquired that interest with an investment of 3.3 billion euros in the development of 450 mm wafers and EUV lithography. In 2012, ASML also offered Samsung and TSMC both a ten percent stake for these reasons.

Chip manufacturers wanted to move from 300mm wafers to 450mm variants to cut costs; more chips can be obtained from the 450mm wafers with the same number of wafers processed per hour. However, the consortium for the switch to 450mm, the Global 450 Consortium, was disbanded at the beginning of this year. The industry will therefore continue to use 300mm and 200mm wafers.

The second goal of Intel, Samsung and TSMC’s investment in ASML, to make euv lithography production-ready as the successor to immersion lithography, has borne more fruit. According to ASML, EUV mass production will start at the end of 2018, early 2019 and all chip manufacturers would have stated that upcoming chip generations will be produced on EUV machines. TSMC sold its stake in ASML in 2015, Samsung sharply reduced its shareholding last year and now Intel is following in with the sale of a significant portion of its shares.