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BE Semiconductor plans US, Taiwan expansion as chip demand soars

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(Reuters) - Chipmaking equipment supplier BE Semiconductor (BESI) said on Friday it planned to boost its operations in the United States and Taiwan as its top customers ramp up investment to meet a surge in chip demand.

The Dutch-based maker of semiconductor assembly and packaging equipment also said it expected second-quarter revenue to rise between 30% and 40% from the previous quarter.

"At present, our strategic priorities focus primarily on ramping production to meet customer delivery dates," Chief Executive Richard Blickman said in a statement, citing favourable order trends.

Suppliers to the semiconductor industry have been benefiting from soaring demand from major chip manufacturers, such as TSMC and Intel, which are expanding production to ease global semiconductor shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The squeeze came about as carmakers - recovering from factory shutdowns last year - compete against the sprawling consumer electronics industry for chip supplies, amid a pandemic-led surge in demand for phones, TVs and gaming consoles.

BESI reported first-quarter revenue at 143.2 million euros ($173.50 million), up 30.5% from the fourth quarter, but at the lower end of the company's guidance amid supply chain constraints.

The group added that the revenue increase was mainly driven by 5G products and a recovery in sales for automotive sector.

($1 = 0.8254 euros)

(Reporting by Anait Miridzhanian and Boleslaw Lasocki; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Tomasz Janowski)