* Says logic chip industry will remain strong
* Says 2013 will be second-half weighted
* Confident Cymer deal will be cleared
By Paul Sandle
BARCELONA, Nov 15 ASML, the leading
supplier of chip-making equipment, said it expected demand in
the memory sector to be weak in 2013, despite a rise in NAND
memory prices in recent weeks.
Chief Financial Officer Peter Wennink told a conference
organised by Morgan Stanley that the outlook for memory chips
for 2013 was "a pretty dire picture".
He said he was not counting on any uptick in NAND memory -
removable cards that do not need power to hold on to data - but
the company would build buffers to hedge for any potential
He said, however, that demand in the logic chip industry
would remain strong, adding that next year would be second-half
weighted due to expansion in the 28 nanometer node and demand
for equipment for the ramp-up to 20 nanometer in 2014.
Chipmakers were also on track to start producing even
thinner 14 nanometer microprocessors in the next couple of years
requiring less voltage to operate and therefore less power.
"There is no doubt in our minds that there is going to be
any backtracking on current plans," he said.
"We see 2013 (as) memory very weak, logic and
microprocessors strong," he said.
Demand for memory was constrained by the weak PC market, he
said, and by tablet makers using memory as a price
"The price difference between a 16-gig tablet and 32-gig
tablet is $100, but the cost of the additional 16 gig is a
fraction (of that)," he said.
Demand for DRAM memory would be lifted by mobile, which
accounts for just over 15 percent of the market, he said, but it
would be a medium-term trend.
"There will be an acceleration in DRAM in the next couple of
years, but the big question is when will that turning point
be?", he said. "It is definitely not 2013. Anywhere between two
and four years we hope to see something."
DRAM represents only 2 percent of ASML's backlog, according
to Morgan Stanley analysts, reducing the downside for the
company from the bleak outlook for the memory sector.
Wennink said he was confident that ASML's plan to buy Cymer
Inc, a supplier of lithography light sources used to
make chips, would be cleared by competition authorities.
The Dutch company said last month that the 1.95 billion
euros ($2.5 billion) deal would speed up the development of
extreme ultraviolet (EUV) semiconductor lithography, which will
help produce chips to power future generations of smartphones
and tablet computers.
Wennink said on Thursday that ASML needed to own the U.S.
group to overcome legal and contractual obstacles that were
hampering attempts to develop newer, smaller chips.
"We do this for the industry (and) for the end consumer, and
from a regulatory point of view that will weigh very heavily,"
Shares in ASML were down 2.2 percent at 1141 GMT,
underperforming a 0.8 percent weaker index of European