ASM INTERNATIONAL REPORTS 2004 FIRST QUARTER OPERATING RESULTS

Almere, NETHERLANDS


  • Net sales of € 195.9 million, up 66.3% from the first quarter of 2003 and up 19.7% from net sales in the fourth quarter of 2003;
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  • Net earnings of € 14.9 million or € 0.28 diluted earnings per share as compared to a net loss of € (8.3) million or € (0.17) diluted loss per share for the first quarter of 2003;
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  • First quarter of 2004 showed strong order intake of € 225.7 million, down 8.0% from the € 245.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2003;
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  • Quarter-end backlog of € 228.8 million, up 15.0% from the previous quarter.
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    ***Please use the following link to view the entire release including financial statements:***
     
     
    BILTHOVEN, THE NETHERLANDS, April 26, 2004 --- ASM International N.V. (NASDAQ: ASMI and Euronext Amsterdam: ASM) reported today the operating results for the first quarter of 2004. Net earnings for the first quarter of 2004 amounted to € 14.9 million, or € 0.28 diluted earnings per share compared to a net loss of € (8.3) million or € (0.17) diluted net loss per share for the first quarter of 2003.

    The first quarter of 2004 showed a continued strong order intake and strong improved sales and operating performance levels, in both the Company's Front-end and Back-end segments. The restructuring plans implemented in the second half of 2003 contributed positively to the Company's Front-end operating performance.
     
     
    (euro millions)
     
    Q1 2003
    Q4 2003
    Q1 2004
    % Change
    Q4 2003 to
    Q1 2004
    % Change
    Q1 2003 to
    Q1 2004
    Net sales
    117.8
    163.6
    195.9
    19.7 %
    66.3 %
    Gross profit
    38.1
    64.9
    81.1
    25.0 %
    112.8 %
    Gross profit margin %
    32.4%
    39.7%
    41.4%
    1.7 %
    9.0 %
    Selling, general and administrative expenses
    (24.0)
    (32.8)
    (24.9)
    (23.8)%
    3.8 %
    Research and development expenses
    (18.4)
    (21.6)
    (17.5)
    (19.2)%
    (4.9)%
    Earnings (loss) from operations *
    (4.3)
    10.5
    38.7
    268.8 %
    na
    Net earnings (loss) *
    (8.3)
    (5.5)
    14.9
    na
    na
     
     
     
     
     
     
    New orders
    149.9
    245.4
    225.7
    (8.0)%
    50.6 %
    Backlog at end of period
     
    175.0
    199.0
    228.8
    15.0 %
    30.7 %
    * Includes restructuring charges of € 6.0 million for Q4 2003.
     
    Net sales
     
    Net sales amounted to € 195.9 million for the first quarter of 2004, the highest quarterly sales level since the first quarter of 2001. Strong order intake starting in the fourth quarter of 2003 clearly marked a recovery in the semiconductor equipment industry and strongly improved our sales level in the first quarter of 2004. While the Back-end segment already benefited from the increased demand in the fourth quarter of 2003, the Front-end segment showed improved sales levels in the first quarter of 2004.
     
    Our consolidated net sales expressed in euro were negatively impacted by the strong euro against the Japanese yen, the US dollar and US dollar related currencies. The decline in exchange rates for the first quarter of 2004 compared to the first quarter of 2003 impacted our sales negatively by 11.5%.
     
    Operations
     
    Gross profit amounted to 41.4% of net sales, 9.0 percentage points above the gross profit margin of 32.4% of net sales in the first quarter of 2003, and 1.7 percentage points above the gross margin of 39.7% for the fourth quarter of 2003. The improved gross margin is the result of slightly improved average sales prices, the product and customer mix, the overall growth in sales volumes and the related increased utilization of the Company's manufacturing capacity.

    Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 3.8% from € 24.0 million in the first quarter of 2003 to € 24.9 million in the first quarter of 2004 and decreased 23.8% from the € 32.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2003. The decrease from the fourth quarter of 2003 is mainly the result of the restructuring charges of € 4.4 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2003, the effect of the restructuring and fixed costs control measures in the first quarter of 2004.  
     
    As a percentage of net sales, selling, general and administrative expenses were 12.7% in the first quarter of 2004 compared to 20.4% in the first quarter of 2003, and 20.0% in the fourth quarter of 2003.
     
    Research and development expenses decreased from € 18.4 million or 15.6% of net sales in the first quarter of 2003 to € 17.5 million or 8.9% of net sales in the first quarter of 2004, and were 19.2% below the € 21.6 million in research and development expenses in the fourth quarter of 2003. The decrease from the fourth quarter of 2003 in research and development expenses is the result of the restructuring charges of € 1.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2003, the effect of the restructuring and the timing of certain research and development projects in the first quarter of 2004.
     
    Earnings (loss) from operations amounted to earnings of € 38.7 million for the first quarter of 2004 compared to a loss from operations of € (4.3) million for the same period in 2003 and earnings from operations of € 10.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2003. In the fourth quarter of 2003 earnings from operations included € 6.0 million in restructuring expenses. Earnings from operations in the Company's Back-end segment were strong; the earnings from operations in the Company's Front-end segment were at a positive break-even level.
    Net interest expense increased from a net expense of € 1.9 million in the first quarter of 2003 to a net expense of € 2.4 million in the first quarter of 2004. The increase is mainly the result of increased interest expenses due to increased borrowings, including the issuance of US$ 90.0 million in convertible debt in May 2003, partially offset by the lower US dollar exchange rate in the first quarter of 2004 compared to the first quarter of 2003.
     
    Bookings and backlog
     
    New orders received in the first quarter of 2004 were € 225.7 million, 8.0% lower than the strong order intake of € 245.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2003. Although the order intake decreased, the level of new orders is signaling a continued recovery in the industry, supported by an accelerated order intake on a month to month basis in the first quarter of 2004, both in the Front-end and the Back-end segment. For the first quarter of 2004 the level of new orders divided by the net sales for the quarter (book-to-bill ratio) was 1.15.
     
    The backlog at the end of March 2004 amounted to € 228.8 million, an increase of 15.0% compared to € 199.0 million at December 31, 2003.
     
    Liquidity and capital resources
     
    Net cash provided by operations and investing activities for the first quarter of 2004 was € 25.1 million as compared to € 6.3 million in cash used by operating and investing activities for the first quarter of 2003.
     
    Net working capital, consisting of accounts receivable, inventories, other current assets, accounts payable, accrued expenses, advance payments from customers and deferred revenue, increased from € 154.4 million at December 31, 2003 to € 170.8 million at March 31, 2004. The increase is primarily the result of increased sales levels and manufacturing activity, although outstanding days of working capital, measured based on quarterly sales, decreased from 85 days at December 31, 2003 to 78 days at March 31, 2004.
     
    At March 31, 2004, the Company's principal sources of liquidity consisted of € 184.3 million in cash and cash equivalents, of which € 99.5 million was available for the company's Front-end segment and € 84.8 million was restricted for use in the Company's Back-end segment. In addition the Company also had € 62.3 million in undrawn bank facilities, of which € 35.6 million was restricted for use in the Back-end segment and € 26.7 million was available for use in the Front-end operations in Japan.
     
    Acquisition of NuTool, Inc.
     
    On February 29, 2004 the Company entered into an agreement to acquire NuTool, Inc. ("NuTool"), a privately-held semiconductor equipment company based in Milpitas, California, USA. The Company currently owns preferred stock representing 15.7% of the fully-diluted common stock of NuTool. The Company will acquire the remaining 84.3% of NuTool in exchange for shares of our common stock. The number of shares to be issued will be determined based on the market value of our common stock as of the closing date of the transaction. Based on the market value of our common stock as of February 27, 2004, the number of our common shares to be issued at closing would be less than 4% of our total shares outstanding, and up to an additional 2% would be issued over the next three years based on NuTool's achievement of various performance targets. The transaction is subject to NuTool stockholder approval and is expected to close in June 2004.
     
    NuTool has developed a patented Electrochemical Mechanical Deposition (ECMD(TM)) process, which is a unique planar copper deposition and copper removal technology. As the market for NuTool's products is still early in its development, NuTool has limited revenues and is expected to require capital resources to fund its marketing, research and development and manufacturing activities in 2004 and 2005. Upon completion of the transaction the operations of NuTool are expected to have a negative impact on the Company's 2004 consolidated earnings from operations in the magnitude of approximately € 10.0 million.
     
    Outlook
     
    The Company expects consolidated net sales in the second quarter of 2004 to be at a similar or slightly higher level than during the first quarter of 2004.
     
    The recent periods with good levels of bookings and Book-to-bill ratio's above 1.0 require the Company to further invest in the hiring and training of service engineers for its Front-end operations. This is needed for current customer requirements and anticipated strong bookings levels.
     
    Net earnings for the second quarter are expected to be clearly positive but might be at a lower level than the first quarter of 2004 if the increase in costs is not sufficiently compensated through additional sales.

    ASM INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CALL
     
    ASM International will host an investor conference call and web cast on
                                       
    Tuesday, April 27, 2003 at
     
      9:00 a.m. US Eastern time
    15:00 p.m. Continental European time.
     
    The teleconference dial-in numbers are as follows:
     
    United States:                     +1 800.901.5248
    International:                       +1 617.786.4512
    The participation pass code is 53974974
     
    A simultaneous audio web cast will be accessible at www.asm.com and www.fulldisclosure.com.

    The teleconference will be available for replay for 48-hours, beginning one hour after completion of the live broadcast. The replay dial-in numbers are:
     
    United States:                     +1 888.286.8010
    International:                       +1 617.801.6888
    The participation pass code is 65439694
     
    About ASM
     
    ASM International N.V., headquartered in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, is a global company servicing one of the most important and demanding industries in the world. The Company possesses a strong technology base, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, a competent and qualified workforce and a highly trained, strategically distributed support network. ASM International and its subsidiaries design and manufacture equipment and materials used to produce semiconductor devices. ASM International and its subsidiaries provide production solutions for wafer processing (Front-end segment) as well as assembly and packaging (Back-end segment) through facilities in the United States, Europe, Japan and Asia. ASM International's common stock trades on Nasdaq (symbol ASMI) and the Euronext Amsterdam Stock Exchange (symbol ASM). For more information, visit ASMI's website at http://www.asm.com.
     
    Safe Harbor Statement under the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: All matters discussed in this statement, except for any historical data, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. These include, but are not limited to, economic conditions and trends in the semiconductor industry, currency fluctuations, the timing of significant orders, market acceptance of new products, competitive factors, litigation involving intellectual property, shareholder and other issues, commercial and economic disruption due to terrorist activity, armed conflict or political instability and other risks indicated in the Company's filings from time to time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, the Company's report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2003.
     
    ***Please use the following link to view the entire release including financial statements:***

    Attachments

    040426 Q1 2004