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Stock-Split Watch: Is ASML Holding Next?

Stock splits have captured the market's attention this year as several big names have decided to go down this path to increase their number of outstanding shares and lower their share prices. Amazon, Shopify, and Fortinet have already executed stock splits, while Alphabet and Tesla are in line to split their shares relatively soon.

A stock split is a cosmetic move that doesn't alter the fundamentals of a company or its intrinsic value. This move simply reduces the dollar value of a company's share of stock, thanks to an increase in the outstanding share count.

It's believed by some that a split can increase the demand for a company's shares as the lower prices following the move make them accessible to a wider pool of retail investors. The higher demand could result in an increase in the stock price, which is why splits have grabbed the headlines this year.

Some are speculating that Dutch semiconductor-giant ASML Holding (NASDAQ: ASML) could also follow suit and approve a split. But split or no split, ASML remains a solid long-term buy. Let's see why.

Why ASML could split its stock

ASML's shares currently trade at around $430 a pop. The stock hit a 52-week high of $895 in September 2021, but the stock market sell-off this year has led investors to press the panic button and exit the company, causing the stock price to tank. What's surprising is that ASML has taken a big beating despite clocking impressive growth amid the booming demand for semiconductor equipment.

ASML finished 2021 with 18.6 billion euros in revenue, an increase of 33% over the previous year. The company forecasts a 20% increase in revenue in 2022. It seems on track to hit that target, thanks to a massive order backlog that hit an all-time high of 29 billion euros in the first quarter of 2022. This occurred due to substantial growth in bookings for ASML's machines, which help foundries make advanced chips.

It's worth noting that ASML had received bookings worth nearly 7 billion euros in Q1, which was nearly double its revenue during that period. What's more, analysts are upbeat about the company's future and expect earnings to grow at an annual rate of nearly 30% over the next five years. However, investors don't seem to have confidence in ASML, as the big slide in its stock price indicates.

That's why it won't be surprising to see management going for a stock split in the future in a bid to lure more retail investors who may currently find the price of a share too high to buy. But even if ASML doesn't split its stock, savvy investors could still consider buying it as the company is built for long-term growth.

The Dutch giant is built for secular growth

ASML's machines are used by the world's biggest semiconductor foundries to make chips. The points discussed above indicate that its machines are in huge demand.

That's not surprising, thanks to the company's monopoly in EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography machines. Each of these machines is priced at as much as $200 million. ASML says that the next-generation machines could go for more than $300 million.

More importantly, foundries have already started placing orders for ASML's next-generation machines, even though they're currently in the prototyping phase. In January, ASML said that it has received orders for five prototypes of its new machines that are expected to be shipped next year.

Management pointed out on the company's April earnings call that the it has received multiple orders for its EXE:5200 machines. With each EXE:5200 machine expected to be priced at more than $340 million, it is not surprising to see why ASML's bookings and backlog have shot up nicely this year.

Investors should also note that ASML's machines help foundries shrink the size of their chips and as a result of that, they can power resource-hungry applications such as the metaverse. With companies in a race to shrink the size of their chips, the demand for ASML's machines should continue to rise in the long run. All this indicates that ASML is in a solid position to take advantage of the secular growth of the semiconductor industry, which is expected to generate $1 trillion in revenue by 2030, as compared to $600 billion in 2021, as per McKinsey's estimates.

So split or no split, ASML looks like a top semiconductor stock to buy, given its bright prospects. What's more, the stock is currently trading at 33 times earnings, as compared to last year's multiple of 53, so investors are getting a good deal on ASML that they may not want to miss.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Harsh Chauhan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends ASML Holding, Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Fortinet, Shopify, and Tesla. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2023 $1,140 calls on Shopify and short January 2023 $1,160 calls on Shopify. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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