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Semiconductor supplier BESI's shares soar after gross margin beat



<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"><head><title>UPDATE 2-Semiconductor supplier BESI's shares soar after gross margin beat</title></head><body>

Q3 gross margin at 64.6%, above company's outlook

Sees Q4 sales 15-25% above Q3 revenue of 123.3 mln euros

To launch 60 mln euro share buyback on Nov. 1

Shares up 10.9% at 0858 GMT, top of STOXX 600 index

Adds margin beat and share move, paragraphs 1,2, comment on assembly market upturn, paragraph 4, analyst comment, paragraphs 3,5

By Lina Golovnya

Oct 26 (Reuters) -BE Semiconductor Industries(BESI) BESI.AS on Thursday beat quarterly gross margin expectations and forecast higher fourth-quarter sales, sending the Dutch chipmaking equipment maker's shares up nearly 11%.

The assembly equipment maker reported a gross profit margin of 64.6% for the third quarter, above its outlook range of 62%-64%. It stuck to the same range for the fourth quarter.

KBC analyst Thibault Leneeuw said he was impressed with the gross margin, noting it was combined with strong cost control.

BESI said its focus was on maintaining solid margins in the tough industryenvironment, adding it believed it was in the early phase of a new assembly market upturn.

"We believe BESI is very well positioned, with their product offering, to benefit from the increased importance of advanced packaging," Leneeuw said in a note to clients.

The Amsterdam-based firm expects its revenue to rise by 15%-25% in the fourth quarter compared with the third, aided by planned shipments from an orderbacklog of hybrid bonding and other advanced packaging systems.

It posted third-quarter revenueof 123.3 million euros ($130 million), down 24.1% from the previous quarter dueto lower smartphone shipments after a capacity build-up in the first half of 2023.

Semiconductor firms have been ramping up production capacity to meet global demand for chips that power modern technology from cars to computers and smartphones.

Sales also fell 27% on the year, mainly due to lower demand for computing applications, and for automotive applications to a lesser extent, BESI said.

Its quarterly orderintake rose 1.6% from a year earlier to127.3 million euros.

BESI also said it would initiate a 60 million euro share buybackprogramme from Nov. 1.

($1 = 0.9487 euros)



Reporting by Lina Golovnya in Gdansk; editing by Milla Nissi

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