Why Tech Investors Should Be Watching ASML Stock

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ASML Holdings (NASDAQ:ASML) is a big, but not so widely followed tech company with a few attractive investment characteristics. 

In this video from “The Virtual Opportunities Show,” recorded on Jan. 4, Motley Fool contributor Asit Sharma outlines why you might want to follow this semiconductor specialist if you’re looking for strong returns, or interested in the wider tech industry.

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Asit Sharma: But I also have a company that plays in the semiconductor industry and begins with the symbol A. That is ASML Holdings, this is a company based in the Netherlands. It is a specialist in this field. Its place is in the lithography space. Some of you may know lithography from high school science or maybe like myself, you were in an industry that was related to print at one time. We’re talking about, these are white technologies, this type of lithography works with ultraviolet systems. If you consider the Moore’s Law that we talked about almost every time we get together, how can you keep producing more circuitry on a chip? One way is to use ultraviolet lithography. They also have a technology that’s called deep or extreme ultraviolet lithography. They are a company that sells to the biggest chipmakers in the world. They are supplier to the suppliers, and I find them very fascinating. It’s not a small company, they’ve got a market capitalization of about 322 billion, but as we’ve seen, and as I often say, market capitalization is something that the biggest companies punch out for the other company. Apple has now across three trillion dollars.

Can a company like ASML double from here? Yes, certainly. I mean, it’s got 18 billion euros worth of revenue just in the last trailing 12 months, and I think it generated about 5.5 billion euros in profits off that revenue. Certainly a company that fits that large cap profile with tremendous growth. Revenues have, I believe, tripled over the last six years. I’m going to check that as we’re talking. I want to take the time to share my screen. Yes, over the last six years, revenues have approximately tripled and so has profit. Profit is more than tripled and you have a company that’s throwing off monster cash-flow. What I’m very intrigued by in this company, ASML Holdings, is the place it plays in the larger roles and I will share my screen for just two minutes. I urge anyone who’s interested in where the chip industry is going and where the world is going to take a look at their investor presentation. They recently had an Investor Day. This is a company that really will teach you about global commerce more than it teaches you about itself, I must feel. They talk about the industry megatrends. Some of those will look familiar because Jose just mentioned to them. Let me show you this graphic here. They’re playing in: Cloud 5G, artificial intelligence, intelligent edge, gaming simulation, and visualization.

This sounds a lot like that virtual opportunities type of company, 5G and infrastructure for many people is like last year or the year before’s investment theme that’s now seems a bit stale. But this is maybe the most promising space they’re playing in the immediate future. You have to understand really what’s happening in the world of chips to craft the concept that the Cloud 5G AI, although they seem like buzzwords we’re now familiar with, just have so many years of growth ahead of them really quickly we’re at 6:54.

This is, again, a very nice way to explain what the future is going to be like. It’s about distributed computing. You have a phone, it’s got some latency. We still can’t and I said this almost two years ago now, we still can’t, Jose and I play a game on our phones that is equivalent experience to a game we’ll play on powerful laptops, but 5G distributing computing, Edge computing are all going to bring us to that point.

There’s so much in designing these chips, so much business for this company. I want to show one more slide and then we will wrap up with our predictions. Bear with me. Yeah, they, even in their investor presentation, really show you how geopolitics are influencing the way money is being spent. We all know this. You can read the headlines and I’ve encountered some of these same articles. But to see a chipmaker draw these together and explain to you that this means the opportunity is going to be even greater because we’re not going to have this one integrated supply chain for chips. But companies are now going to go in form their own closed systems and redevelop technologies. That’s what the US is doing. That in some way is what China is doing. Every country outside of Taiwan and maybe the Netherlands by extension, is having some reinventing to do to become more independent and more self-sufficient.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.