UPDATE 1-ASM International posts lower 2nd qtr profit
* Q2 net profit 18 mln euros vs 22.1 mln euros expected
* Q2 order book rises 18 percent from Q1 to 439 mln euros
July 25 (Reuters) - Dutch chip equipment maker ASM International NV reported a 64 p ercent f all in second-quarter profit, as it was weighed down by a 9 percent sequential fall in sales at its front-end business.
"While total results in the second quarter showed an improvement as compared to the first quarter, front-end efficiency issues were still strongly impacting the results," Chief Executive Officer Chuck del Prado said in a statement.
After years of battles with shareholders, ASMI's founder and largest shareholder, Arthur del Prado, who is Chuck del Prado's father, told investors in May that he is in favour of splitting up the Dutch semiconductor equipment maker, to create more value.
The firm made no mention of this major change in direction on Wednesday in its earnings statement.
ASMI reported a second-quarter net profit of 18 million euros, up from 6 million euros in the first quarter, and down from 50 million euros last year, missing t h e average estimate of 22.1 million euros from a Reuters poll.
ASMI's net sales for the quarter fell 20 percent to 378 million euros.
The firm's order book or orders booked but not yet paid -- the best indication of future earnings -- was up 1 8 p ercent from the previous quarter to 439 million euros.
Analysts were expecting a second-quarter order book of 379 million euros.
ASMI operates in both the front-end processing, or production of silicon chips, and the back-end, or dicing and packaging of the chips.
The bulk of its sales and profits come from the back-end of the business, which is a 53 percent stake in Hong-Kong listed ASM Pacific Technology.
ASMI, which makes equipment used for processing, assembly and packaging of semiconductors, competes with Novellus Systems Inc and Applied Materials.
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