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ASML CEO says US restricts servicing some China equipment, won't hurt earnings

By Toby Sterling

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The outgoing chief executive of top semiconductor equipment supplier ASML said on Wednesday that the U.S. government will prevent the company from servicing some machines it has previously sold to Chinese customers in some cases.

Such restrictions "will not have a significant effect on the 2025 to 2030 financials, because it will be a limited number" of Chinese plants that are affected, Peter Wennink said.

ASML, the largest maker of equipment used to manufacture computer chips, has faced a series of restrictions and licensing requirements from the U.S. and Dutch governments in selling its more advanced equipment lines to Chinese customers.

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The restrictions are part of Washington's campaign to slow Beijing's military advances and undermine its ability to manufacture its own chips.

In April, the U.S. government began pressuring the Dutch government to prevent ASML from servicing some of the billions of euros worth of tools it has already sold to Chinese customers, including in some cases equipment whose export was approved or that had been sold before new restrictions were introduced in 2023.

China was ASML's second-largest market by sales in 2023 and about 20% of the company's global revenues come from servicing its installed base of tools.

While the Netherlands oversees its own export policies, and ASML has said it expects to be able to continue to service "most" Chinese customers through the end of this year, Wennink said that was not true in all cases.

"We can service them, but not with U.S. content, with spare parts that come out of the U.S. that are under export control," Wennink said.

U.S. rules cover the segment of ASML's product range known as "immersion" deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography tools.

"But that's for a limited number of systems. But we can install them. Anything else that we have sold, we can install and we can service," Wennink said.

Wennink was speaking at the company's annual general meeting, where he is due to retire and be replaced by veteran manager Christophe Fouquet, pending shareholder approval.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Alison Williams and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)