FRANKFURT, Oct 24 (Reuters) - German chip equipment maker Aixtron warned it would post a bigger than expected 2012 operating loss after a sluggish recovery of demand forced it to write down the value of its inventory.
"Despite the positive long-term outlook for the LED (light-emitting diode) industry, the existing stock held was inappropriately high in comparison to the current subdued level of demand in the market," Aixtron said in a statement early on Wednesday.
A 51.5 million euro ($66.8 million) writedown in the third quarter will lead to a full-year operating loss of 125 million euros, more than three times as much as analysts on average expected in a Reuters poll.
In the third quarter alone, the operating loss came to 78 million euros, Aixtron said.
The company said it expected to return to profitability in 2013 thanks to rising demand for equipment used to make LEDs. ($1 = 0.7714 euros) (Reporting by Maria Sheahan)