Samsung Electronics sold off half of its 3 percent stake in ASML, a Dutch semiconductor equipment company, three years ago. Yet ASML has nearly tripled its corporate value in the past three years on the back of its monopoly of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) exposure equipment which are used for production of ultra-micro semiconductors.
The market value of Samsung’s 1.5 percent stake in ASML is 1.88 trillion won, according to the company’s third-quarter business report released on Nov. 15. At the time of its acquisition in 2012, the value of the 1.5 percent stake in ASML was only 336 billion won. This means that the value of the stake increased about six-folds over the seven years.
Samsung Electronics sold half of its 3 percent stake in ASML in September 2016. At the time, the sale price of the 1.5 percent was about 740 billion won. As 740 billion won was twice as much as its price four years ago, industry watchers said at the time that it was not a bad deal. Three years ago, Samsung Electronics sold off a 0.7 percent stake in Japan's Sharp, a 4.2 percent stake in U.S. storage specialist Seagate, and a 4.5 percent stake in Rambus, a U.S. semiconductor design company, to streamline its investment portfolio.
The market value of ASML has been on a sharp rise since Samsung’s stake sale. Samsung’s business report estimated the remaining 1.5 percent stake in ASML at 937 billion won at the end of June 2017. One year later, it raised the figure to 1,386.1 billion won.
ASML’s value jumped even after late June. Its market cap was US$114.4 billion as of Nov. 14. Samsung's 1.5 percent stake was estimated at 2 trillion won. If Samsung had not sold the stake in ASML three years ago, it would have earned a valuation gain of 1.5 trillion won.
As ASML announced that it shipped seven pieces of EUV exposure equipment and received new orders for 23 pieces in the third quarter of this year, it corporate value will definitely rise. EUV exposure equipment is a high-priced product worth more than 200 billion won per unit, and ASML's sales also increased by seven percent on year to 3 billion euros. Currently, Samsung Electronics and TSMC are major customers, but Intel and SK Hynix are also considering introducing EUV equipment from ASML.