Proof of the struggling semiconductor market lies with Dutch firm ASML, which said today [Thursday] that a "sudden, sharp decline" in orders from chip makers meant it would lose $90m in the first half of 2001 - instead of earning around $150m as it had hoped.
Last year the firm, which makes semiconductor equipment, made a profit of $297m and said it expected 2001 to be better.
But after only breaking even itself, the Veldhoven-based firm will make a loss of $90m thanks to a 40 per cent fall in sales for the second quarter of the year for recent US acquisition, Silicon Valley Group.
In a statement, Doug Dunn, chief executive at ASML, said that recent conversations with customers lead him to believe the market would likely not recover at the end of the year, as he had previously believed.
Earlier this week, the Semiconductor Industry Association reported that global sales fell to $12.7bn in May, down $3.2bn on May 2000 figures.
Separately, Peter Chang, chief executive at Taiwan's second largest foundry factory, labelled the slump "the worst industry downturn for three years".
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