ASML was founded in 1984 as ASM Lithography, a joint venture between Philips and Advanced Semiconductor Materials International (ASMI). ASMI pulled out of the partnership and in 1995 ASML was floated on the stock exchange. It claims to be the world’s leading manufacturer of chip making machinery but has been hit hard by the credit crisis. Based in Veldhoven, it has a global workforce of some 6,500 staff.