ASML reports huge profits for Q4 2010 -

ASML has reported a record rise in its fourth quarter earnings.  

It's attributed the growth, which saw net profit for the quarter rising to sharply to £342 million (€406.8 million) from £4.2 million (€50.5 million) a year earlier and sales which rose to £1.28 billion (€1.52 billion) from £489 million (€581 million), to a strong demand for smartphones and tablet computers.

According to Eric Meurice, president and CEO of ASML, the company also moved to meet demand for its products by "almost tripling" the output of its factory in 2010 compared with 2009.

He said during the fourth quarter, the company also shipped the first of its second generation EUV systems, "and successfully exposed wafers at a customer manufacturing site."

The company also reported that it booked orders valued at £1.9 billion (€2.32 billion) in the period, bringing its order backlog to an all-time high of £3.2 billion (€3.86 billion).

And it seems its wealth has spurred it on to do more. It's also announced an £84 million (€1 billion) share buyback program over the next two years, and doubled its dividend for 2010 to £0.3 (€0.4) per share.

"The fourth quarter was a strong close to a remarkable year in the history of ASML during which we achieved record sales, profit and bookings," added Meurice.