Shares in ASM International NV (AS:ASMI) surged towards the top of the pan-European Stoxx 600 on Wednesday after the Dutch chip supplier posted better-than-expected preliminary sales in the fourth quarter following an easing in recent supply constraints. In a statement, the firm said net sales increased to around €720 million (€1 = $1.0846) during the final three months of 2022 due to a stronger-than-anticipated improvement in supply chain conditions and a resulting uptick in backlog conversion. The top-line figure was above the group’s previous guidance of €630M – €660M and Bloomberg consensus estimates of €634.7M. “Although we are still faced with certain supply chain challenges, the situation improved more than expected. Thanks to solid execution by our suppliers and Global Operations team we were able to complete and ship additional tools in the final weeks of December,” ASM said. Preliminary orders amounted to approximately €820M during the period, also beating predictions from analysts and the Almere-based company, driven in part by “exceptionally high” intake in its silicon carbide epitaxy business. Operating margin for the fourth quarter is seen coming in at about 26%, excluding the purchase price allocation amortization linked to its recently-completed acquisition of Italian silicon carbide manufacturer LPE. ASM will report its fourth-quarter and annual financial results, as well as guidance for its next fiscal year, on February 28.