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Pace aims to become world leader

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Pace aims to become world leader
Pace has said that it aims to become a world leader in consumer electronics after surging digital TV demand helped it post strong financial results, reports The Independent.

From its base in the historic village of Saltaire, west Yorkshire, the company has grown to become the third biggest set-top box manufacturer on the planet. In its financial results for the first half of this year, the firm revealed that its pre-tax profits have tripled to £30.8m. Some analysts are now predicting that its revenues will reach £1.1bn by the close of the year, delivering profits of £70m.

An existing UK relationship with Sky has helped the company's sales almost double from £231m to £526.5m. Interestingly, though, over half of of this revenue was drawn from the US, in which Pace has formed a profitable partnership with Time Warner Cable.

Pace chief executive Neil Gaydon told the newspaper that the company has the potential to develop into a British flag carrier for consumer electronics in the digital era.

"Some have given up on Britain ever having an electronics leader. That it is the preserve of the Japanese, Koreans or Americans, yet here we are, a fully diversified global company," he said.

"We've grown from two customers to over 100 and revenues are rising. I don't think there's a UK electronics company that has ever done over £1bn in annual revenues."

Strong consumer takeup helped the digital set-top box market reach $16bn (£9.64bn) in total value last year, and this could grow to $19bn (£11.4bn) by 2012.

Pace now expects 80% of its revenues for the second half of 2009 to derive from the sale of high definition boxes. It also plans to launch a broadband-enabled receiver to capitalise on the growth of IPTV, and is trialling multiroom technology and consulting on 3D, following Sky's recent announcement that it will launch a 3D channel next year.

A recent survey by UBS indicated that pay TV subscriptions could grow further in the UK, with around a third of households currently receiving terrestrial television intending to transfer to pay TV at some point in the future.

With the digital switchover starting today in Wales, as the analogue signal is gradually turned off around the UK, Gaydon suggested that demand for his company's products will only increase in the future.

"Everywhere is going digital, analogue is being turned off," he said. "It means that in the developed world, every single TV will need a digital device of some description."

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