VELDHOVEN, The Netherlands Jan 22 ASML , the world's leading provider of tools for making computer chips, reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter results on Wednesday and reiterated its outlook for first-half sales of about 3 billion euros ($4.06 billion).
The Dutch firm, regarded as a barometer for the health of Europe's technology sector, reported fourth-quarter net profit of 481 million euros on sales of 1.848 billion euros. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a quarterly net profit of 422 million euros on sales of 1.812 billion euros.
ASML forecast first-quarter sales of around 1.4 billion euros and said it intended to increase its dividend by 15 percent to 0.61 euros per share for 2013. ($1 = 0.7383 euros) (Reporting by Sara Webb, editing by Elizabeth Piper)