ASML reports lower profits

ASML Holding, one of the largest makers of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, said its first quarter profit fell 5% as customers cut back on spending, according to an Associated Press report.

The Associated Press report said the Dutch equipment supplier to chip makers such as Intel and Samsung Electronics said net profit fell to €145.1 million (US$228.9 million) from €152.7 million the same period a year ago. Sales fell 3.1% to €919.2 million (US$1.45 billion).

The company forecast that full-year sales would be about 10% lower than 2007 levels. CEO Eric Meurice said sales would be 'weaker for the next two quarters "&brkbar; given our current view of the duration of the correction in semiconductor capital expenditures.'

That was evident in the company's order backlog, which fell to €1.17 billion from €1.70 billion at the end of the year.

ASML, based in Veldhoven, Netherlands, sells lithography systems, machines that cost more than €15 million ($24 million) each. They are used to trace the circuitry of chips.

The current order backlog equates to about 65 machines, of which 26 were ordered during the first quarter, ASML said.