Strengthen Partnership

ZEISS and ASML Strengthen Partnership for Next Generation of EUV Lithography Due in Early 2020

  • ASML buys 24.9% of ZEISS subsidiary Carl Zeiss SMTfor EUR 1 billion in cash
  • Start of development of entirely new optical system for the future generation of EUV
  • ASML supports Carl Zeiss SMT`s R&D and capex for approximately EUR 760 million over the next 6 years

OBERKOCHEN/Germany, VELDHOVEN/The Netherlands, 2016-11-03.

Netherlands-based ASML Holding NV, one of the world's leading chip industry equipment providers, and Germany-based Carl Zeiss SMT, a business group of Carl Zeiss AG (ZEISS), have agreed to strengthen their long-standing and successful partnership in the semiconductor lithography business. The main objective of this agreement is to facilitate the development of the future generation of Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography systems due in the first few years of the next decade. This technology will enable the semiconductor industry to produce much higher performance microchips at lower costs.

ZEISS and ASML jointly announced today, that they have agreed on a 24.9% minority stake of ASML in ZEISS’s subsidiary Carl Zeiss SMT, for which ASML will pay EUR 1 billion in cash. The companies stated that no further exchange of shares is planned or agreed.

ASML is a key supplier of semiconductor patterning products and services used by the world`s top producers of microchips. With its high-performance optics Carl Zeiss SMT supplies an essential subsystem of ASML´s semiconductor lithography scanners and is ASML`s most important strategic partner. ASML and Carl Zeiss SMT have been in close partnership for more than 30 years. Both firms have grown strongly over the last decades benefiting from each other`s strengths.

A new cycle of investments required for the development of an entirely new optical system for the future generation of EUV, expected to be provided to the chip making industry in the first few years of the next decade, has triggered the partners to take a further step in the collaboration.

“With this agreement we clear the road for advanced lithography to support the new concepts and designs for future generations of advanced chips. After the many years of fruitful partnership, we see this agreement as a further strong endorsement of our long term cooperation which allows us to further expand our joint leadership that we have already accomplished together”, says Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of ZEISS.

“In 2018 the first chips made on current technology EUV scanners are expected to roll off the production lines of our customers. A lot of work is still being done to ensure the introduction of EUV in volume manufacturing, in tight conjunction with our highly successful immersion scanners which we continue to improve. Yet ASML and ZEISS are looking beyond this important milestone. We see a long and successful future for EUV lithography in advanced chip manufacturing and with this agreement we set the right conditions for development of the next generation of EUV by ASML and Carl Zeiss SMT, so that our customers can reap the rewards of their EUV investments up to the end of the next decade,” says Peter Wennink, President and Chief Executive Officer of ASML.

The next generation of EUV optics will offer a higher numerical aperture (NA), making it possible to further reduce critical dimensions in the lithography process. The current EUV systems have an optical system with NA of 0.33 whereas the new optics will have NA larger than 0.5, enabling several generations of geometric chip scaling.

In addition to the agreement of the minority interest, the two companies have also agreed that ASML will support Carl Zeiss SMT`s research and development (R&D) for approximately EUR 220 million as well as capital expenditures and other supply chain investments for approximately EUR 540 million over the next 6 years.

These investments will predominantly be allocated at Carl Zeiss SMT’s main location in Oberkochen, Germany, and will primarily be used for capacity and resource expansions, with positive effects on long-term employment at this location. Carl Zeiss SMT will remain fully integrated into the structure of the ZEISS Group as one of the major and important business groups.

“High-NA is the logical next step for EUV, as it circumvents complex and expensive 0.33 NA EUV multiple patterning. High-NA EUV is a robust way for chips to scale all the way down to the sub-3 nanometer logic node in a single exposure with high productivity and reduced cost per feature. That is several generations from where we are today and underlines our commitment to propel Moore’s law,” said Martin van den Brink, President and Chief Technology Officer at ASML.

Carl Zeiss SMT will pay an annual dividend to its shareholders Carl Zeiss AG and ASML. ASML expects that the minority share transaction will be accretive to its earnings before adjustments related to accounting policy and basis differences. Furthermore, ASML`s contribution to Carl Zeiss SMT`s R&D and capital expenditures will be taken into account in the future pricing for SMT`s next generation EUV optics.

The transaction has been approved by both companies’ Supervisory Boards. ASML will fund the transaction from available cash, potentially supplemented by new debt. The transaction is subject to regulatory clearance and is expected to be closed in the second quarter of 2017.

Press Contacts:

Jörg Nitschke
Phone: +49 7364 20-3242
joerg .nitschke @zeiss .com

Lucas van Grinsven, Communication Worldwide
Phone +316 101 99 532
cor pcom @asml .com

About Moore`s law
The phenomenal growth of the semiconductor industry has been driven by Moore’s Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. In 1965, Moore observed that the number of components on a chip that could be manufactured at optimum cost had doubled every year. He predicted that this trend would continue. It was an empirical observation, not a law of nature. In the five decades that followed, the “law” has been rewritten several times, but the principle continues: chip makers cram more transistors on ICs with every new generation, making computing power and storage capacity cheaper year after year. Today’s consumers carry more computing power in their pockets than a multi-million-dollar supercomputer could deliver in the 1970s. Moore's Law has inspired generations of engineers to push technology forward.

About ZEISS:

ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the optics and optoelectronics industries. The ZEISS Group develops and distributes lithography optics, measuring technology, microscopes, medical technology, eyeglass lenses, camera and cine lenses, binoculars and planetarium technology. With its solutions, the company constantly advances the world of optics and helps shape technological progress. ZEISS is divided up into the four segments Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Research & Quality Technology, Medical Technology, and Vision Care / Consumer Optics. ZEISS is represented in over 40 countries and operates more than 30 production sites, over 50 sales and service locations and about 25 research and development facilities.

In fiscal year 2014/15 the company generated revenue approximating 4.5 billion euros with around 25,000 employees. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. Carl Zeiss AG is the strategic management holding company that manages the ZEISS Group. The company is wholly owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).

Further informationen at

Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology

With a broad portfolio of products and globally leading know-how in the areas of lithography and optical modules, the business group covers various key processes in microchip production. Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology includes the Semiconductor Manufacturing Optics and Semiconductor Metrology Systems strategic business units. It is headquartered in Oberkochen. During fiscal year 2014/15, this segment generated revenue of €893 million and employed around 2,800 people.

About ASML

ASML is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chip-making equipment. Our vision is to enable affordable microelectronics that improve the quality of life. To achieve this, our mission is to invent, develop, manufacture and service advanced technology for high-tech lithography, metrology and software solutions for the semiconductor industry. ASML's guiding principle is continuing Moore's Law towards ever smaller, cheaper, more powerful and energy-efficient semiconductors. This results in increasingly powerful and capable electronics that enable the world to progress within a multitude of fields, including healthcare, technology, communications, energy, mobility, and entertainment. We are a multinational company with over 70 locations in 16 countries, headquartered in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. We employ more than 15,500 people on payroll and flexible contracts (expressed in full time equivalents). ASML is traded on Euronext Amsterdam and NASDAQ under the symbol ASML. More information about ASML, our products and technology, and career opportunities is available on

You can find the Regulated Information and the Forward Looking Statements in the press release from ASML

Further Information