Dutch government pledges $2.7 billion investment package to prevent ASML from exiting the country

The Dutch government is planning a multimillion-dollar investment in the Eindhoven region to keep the ultra-violet lithography (EUV) company ASML from leaving the country.

U statement last week, Economy Minister Miki Adriaansens confirmed that the €2.5 billion spending package, dubbed “Project Beethoven”, would be used to improve housing, education and transport routes, as well as eliminate power grid capacity in the neighbourhood.

ASML is the world’s only supplier of the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) photolithography machines required to produce the most advanced 3nm and 5nm chips. Located in Veldhoven, a district of Eindhoven (Netherlands), ASML is the most valuable technology company in the country and Europe.

In March, however, alarm was raised within the Dutch government after ASML CEO Peter Venink publicly complained that the government had not invested in improving Eindhoven’s infrastructure. The company has also criticized a number of government policies, including plans to scrap tax breaks for skilled immigrants, which would make it harder for companies to hire staff.

It was reported that if the Dutch government did not resolve the issues raised by ASML when Venink retired in April, his replacement, French national Christophe Fouquet, could try to move part of the company’s operations to France.

In a statement, Adriaansens said: “The government hopes that these measures (outlined in Project Beethoven) will force ASML to continue to invest and locate its operations in the Netherlands, including for legal and tax purposes.”

ASML is at the center of the US government’s ongoing trade war with China, and the Dutch government is increasingly under pressure from the Biden administration to block ASML’s exports to China. It first banned ASML from selling its state-of-the-art equipment to China and then, in January 2024, revoked its export license to stop the supply of two old lithographic machines to Chinese customers.

Chinese companies bought 46 percent of ASML’s lithography systems sold in the third quarter of 2023, generating about $3.7 billion in revenue between July and November of that year.

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