High expectations for Pace in '09

Rejuvenated TV technology company Pace said it would “significantly raise expectations” for 2009 after what CEO Neil Gaydon called an “excellent” set of results for 2008.

Both set-top box shipments and revenues reached an all-time high, with 13.1 million set-top boxes including 6 million from Pace France shipped during the year. That compared with 2.4 million in the seven months to the end of 2007 (the comparative period as Pace changed its fiscal year-end to December in 2007). Pace France has given the company a huge boost since Pace’s acquisition of the then-Royal Philips Electronics in April 2008.

Pace is now one of the top three set-top box companies globally and says its number of high definition PVR products available – 20 – is “unmatched by any competitor”.

Revenues rose to £745.5 million for 2008, compared with just £249.9 million for the seven months previously. Pace France contributed revenues of £292.9 million and pre-tax profit of £8.4 million while organic growth saw revenues increase to £452.6 million and pre-tax profit to £20.1 million.

Adjusted group profit increased significantly to £28.5 million, compared with £15.4 million although overall pre-tax profit was down from £15.4 million to £13.8 million. However, Pace has initiated a dividend, recommended at 0.6p per share.

CEO Gaydon said: “We set out our ambitions to grow Pace's market share, but we have also placed a major emphasis on building a resilient business: I am very pleased to see that this strength enabled us to deliver such strong growth against a backdrop of economic downturn.”

"The payTV sector is a major focus for the Group: the service delivered by the payTV industry to consumers is one of the best value forms of home entertainment available, and the increase in availability and quality of these services, such as high definition and PVR capability, is driving rapid growth in the sector. Our focus on having the right products, at the right time, to fuel the digital TV revolution has delivered excellent results and we will continue to grow market share.”

But Gaydon said that despite the positive outlook, the company “continues to take a prudent and cautious view of the market.” Pace’s Board has decided to pay a dividend due to, among other things, new business wins and good order visibility.