* Q2 results due on July 18, 0500 GMT
* Net profit seen at 283 mln euro, down 34.5 pct - poll
* Sales seen at 1.228 bln euro, down 19.7 pct - poll
* Net bookings of 918 mln euro forecast, up 9.3 pct - poll
* Possible update on Samsung Electronics, TSMC investments
By Sara Webb
AMSTERDAM, July 17 ASML's earnings
attract attention because the world's leading chip equipment
maker is considered a barometer for the health of Europe's tech
sector and the strength of demand for smartphones and other hot
But when the Dutch firm reports its second-quarter results on
Wednesday morning, investors and analysts will also want an
update on the longer-term outlook, in particular for news on its
research funding plans.
Last week Intel Corp agreed to invest in ASML's R&D
and to take an equity stake of up to 15 percent.
ASML aims to reach similar deals with Taiwan's TSMC
and South Korea's Samsung Electronics to help fund
its research in exchange for up to 25 percent of its shares.
Analysts expect ASML to report second-quarter net profit of
283 million euros ($346.4 million), according to a poll
commissioned by Reuters, unchanged from the first quarter but
down 34.5 percent from a year ago.
Second-quarter sales are seen at 1.228 billion euros, down a
fifth from a year ago.
At the time of its first-quarter earnings in April, ASML
said it expected steady sales over the next six to nine months,
driven by demand for Apple Inc's iPhones, iPads and
other brands of smartphones and tablets.
But it declined then to predict exactly when those orders
would be made because its business has shifted towards fewer but
bigger customers, making such forecasts trickier.
"Colour on Q4 2012 will be key," said Credit Suisse analysts
in a research note.
In addition to the orders and guidance for the coming
quarters, the focus will be on whether ASML has signed up more
customers to bankroll its research so that it can speed up the
introduction of the next generation of chip-making technology.
Janardan Menon, an analyst with Liberum Capital, said he
believed that both TSMC and Samsung would invest in ASML. If
they did not sign up, the offer would be open to smaller
customers such as SK Hynix and Micron Technology Inc
, analysts said.
The co-investment programme is clearly intended to tie in
customers and to speed up the development of new technology that
will eventually lead to much cheaper gadgets.
"The consumer is going to benefit from fitting more and more
functionality for the same price or less. It means smarter,
cooler phones and at a lower price," Menon said.
There are two areas that ASML wants to fast-track. One is
the move to a new chip-making standard based on bigger wafers,
as more chips can be produced if the diameter of the wafers is
increased from 300 millimetres to 450 millimetres, leading to
significant cost savings.
The other concerns an advanced chip-making technique known
as extreme ultraviolet or EUV lithography, referring to the
light source used in the lithography machines to make tinier but
more powerful semiconductors.
Intel has committed the bulk of its funding for developing
the 450 millimetre technology.
"Because Intel stands to benefit most from 450 mm migration,
it has been the main proponent of the migration so far, but has
met with resistance from the equipment industry, most noticeably
ASML, which had stated it would only start developing 450 mm
tools if the industry would offer support," ING said in a
Other customers, such as TSMC and Samsung, stand to benefit
most from an acceleration of the EUV development, ING said,
adding that it expects them to commit.
"By joining the programme, their control over the EUV
development would clearly increase," it said.