Pace poised for World Cup bonus

SET-top box maker Pace today predicted a World Cup sales boost as pay-television firms rush out high-definition technology ahead of this summer's football tournament.

The Saltaire-based firm said sales for the first six months of 2010 would outstrip the second half, although trading for the overall year will be in line with expectations.

The firm added: "We entered 2010 in a strong operating and financial position with our pay-TV markets continuing to be positive and with good demand for the group's products."

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Pace employs around 1,200 staff in countries around the world including the US, India and China, with its headquarters in Saltaire, West Yorkshire.

The eagerness for HD technology has driven demand across all of Pace's markets. Although 3D technology is still in its infancy, the firm estimated that only 4 per cent of global TV households had made the switch to the format by the end of last year.

The company expects "solid" volume growth this year along with slightly lower selling prices, resulting in single-digit revenue growth.

Pace has also landed new contract wins including a deal to provide Malaysia's first HD service, as well as a second generation set-top box for BT Vision and a new range of Freeview products in the UK.

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Pace has expanded rapidly since its purchase of Phillips' Set-Top Boxes and Connectivity Solutions businesses two years ago.

The company sold around 17 million set-top boxes last year to TV companies including Comcast, DirecTV and Canal+.