The Korea Herald


Samsung sells ASML stakes to secure W3tr

By Jo He-rim

Published : Aug. 16, 2023 - 15:58

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Samsung Electronics headquarters in Seoul (Yonhap) Samsung Electronics headquarters in Seoul (Yonhap)

Samsung Electronics sold a portion of its stakes in Dutch chip equipment maker ASML and secured 3 trillion won ($2.24 billion) in cash, the company reported in its semi-annual report Monday.

In the report, the world’s No. 1 memory chipmaker reported that it held 2.75 million shares in ASML stocks, equivalent to 0.7 percent, at the end of June, down from the 1.6 percent or 6.29 million shares from the end of March this year.

In selling its shares, Samsung appears to have secured significant cash flow as the company seeks to increase investment in its semiconductor business which has been struggling amid the severe market downturn.

Samsung acquired 3 percent of ASML’s shares with about 700 billion won in 2012, and then sold half of it for about 600 billion won in 2016.

While the company has seen its chips business earnings drop over consecutive quarters, Samsung maintained it will continue to make investments. In the second quarter, the company’s total capital expenditure was 14.5 trillion won, which is the largest amount for a second quarter, with 7.2 trillion won also devoted to research and development.

The company said it spent 13.5 trillion won on semiconductors and 600 billion won on displays.

Samsung established ties in 2000 with ASML, the sole maker of extreme ultraviolet lithography systems, to cooperate in semiconductor manufacturing.

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong has also traveled to visit the Dutch company several times over the past few years to discuss equipment supply.

While on his trip to Europe last year, Lee discussed ways to boost cooperation with ASML CEO Peter Wennink. Lee also made a trip to ASML in October 2020 to discuss supply plans.

The company had also invested about 400 billion won in ASML’s research and development of next-generation lithography technologies over five years.

With the goal to boost research and development efforts to prepare for a market revival and rising demand in new technology sectors such as artificial intelligence, Samsung has been seen selling off stakes to secure cash liquidity.

The tech giant sold 2.38 million shares in Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD, which is about 0.1 percent of the company’s stocks and worth 115.2 billion won, and also 1.53 million shares of SFA Engineering, a machinery company based in South Korea to secure 67.6 billion won.

In February, Samsung said it will borrow 20 trillion won from Samsung Display at an interest rate of 4.6 percent.