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ASML, Eindhoven Tech University to invest $195 million in partnership

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows ASML logo

By Toby Sterling

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - European tech giant ASML and the Eindhoven University of Technology said on Thursday they have agreed to spend a combined 180 million euros ($195 million) on semiconductor research over the coming decade.

ASML, the largest supplier of equipment used in computer chip manufacturing, has been struggling with where and how it will expand operations, and with questions over whether the workforce and other infrastructure in the Netherlands' Eindhoven region will be enough to meet its growth plans.

"The collaboration will increase the availability of PhDs, which our industry has a strong need for, and will provide scientific insights that are relevant to the chip industry and society," ASML CFO Roger Dassen said in a statement announcing the deal.

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"With this agreement we are investing in science in the Netherlands and in training experts.”

The university said it expects to spend 100 million euros to build and run a advanced cleanroom facility where it will conduct semiconductor related research into fields including plasma physics, mechatronics, optics and AI. ASML is investing 80 million euros.

University President Robert-Jan Smits said the partnership was the largest ever for the university, and would help cement Eindhoven's importance as a "semicon hotspot."

The Dutch government in March said it would spend $2.7 billion on what it dubbed "Project Beethoven" to improve roads, housing and the electric grid around Eindhoven to ensure that ASML did not follow through on a threat to move significant operations abroad.

In April, ASML signed a letter of intent with the city of Eindhoven for an expansion in an undeveloped area near the city's airport large enough to house 20,000 additional employees.

At the end of 2023 ASML, based in the Eindhoven suburb of Veldhoven, had 42,000 globally, with 23,000 of them in the Netherlands.

The company has a long-range forecast of 44-60 billion euros in annual sales by 2030, roughly doubling from 26.7 billion euros in 2023.

($1 = 0.9241 euros)

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; editing by Diane Craft)