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ASML said on Wednesday it expected third-quarter orders to be “significantly higher” than previously expected due to strong demand across the board.

Shares in ASML rose some 2.8 per cent in early trading in Amsterdam.

The Dutch company is the world’s largest maker of equipment to manufacture silicon chips, and its upbeat announcement came the day after Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, said it was cutting its workforce by 10 per cent.

But Eric Meurice, chief executive of ASML, said the fabrication industry was showing “fairly sustained need for capacity”. As a result, ASML was increasing its market share in high volume equipment and leading edge technology and 2006 sales are now seen likely to be some 40 per cent higher than 2005. Sales in 2005 were worth €2.53bn.

In the second quarter, ASML received 93 new orders and the third quarter is now seen coming in at a similar level. The second-quarter orders were some 50 per cent up on the first quarter and were valued at almost €1.1bn. Sales in the second quarter, announced in mid-July, were also strongly higher as the company made record quarterly profits.

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