Pace set for World Cup sales boost

PACE, the set-top box maker, is expecting a World Cup sales boost as operators role out high-definition TV ahead of the summer football tournament.

The UK-based company said sales in the first half of the year will outpeform the second six months as millions tune into the World Cup. However trading for the overall year will be in line with expectations.

“The FIFA World Cup, which will be broadcast in HD and 3D formats, will result in first half performance being ahead of the second half,” the company said ahead of its annual meeting.

Pace, whose customers include BSkyB, Comcast Corp and Canal+, said it expected to see a combination of solid volume growth and modestly lower average selling prices, due to its product mix, in 2010, leading to mid-single digit revenue growth.

Analysts expect Pace to report a 17 per cent rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to £89.2m on five per cent higher revenue of £1.19bn in 2010.

Pace successfully completed new contracts in the first half of 2010 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 HD products in the UK.

Mike McTighe, chairman of Pace said: “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. Gross margins are expected to increase.”