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Pace acquires gateway specialist as profits soar

UK set-top supplier Pace has acquired France-based IP and cable gateway specialist Bewan systems for €12.5m via its Pace France unit.

Pace said that Bewan’s residential gateway capabilities – including expertise in DSL and cable DOCSIS 3.0 IP technologies – will combine with Pace’s existing gateway business, enabling it to offer converged gateway and digital TV solutions to pay-TV customers. Bewan has a number of customers in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. “As pay-TV operators develop converged home entertainment services, advanced residential gateways will become increasingly important – both as standalone devices and integrated into set-top box products that drive whole home networks,” said Neil Gaydon, CEO of Pace.

Separately, Pace has reported 2009 revenues of £1.133bn (€1.254bn), up 52% year-on-year, and pre-tax profit of £76.5m, up by a staggering 405%. Adjusted group profit before tax (excluding amortisation) was up 168% to £76.5m.

“In 2009, we saw strong demand from pay-TV operators in all global markets and volume shipments in 2009 were up over 30% to over 17 million boxes compares to 13 million in 2008,” said Gaydon. “We continue to drive down costs and to see operating benefits and synergies following the Pace France acquisition.”

The company said that it expected solid single-digit growth this year, with a further improvement in its margins. “In 2010, high definition will become even more mainstream. Penetration is still only at 6% globally so there is still a long way to go,” Gaydon said. “We’re also starting to see increased interest in hybrid TV. 3D is being launched by a number of our operators and looking way ahead by seven or eight years there will probably be Ultra High Definition, which offers 16 times the definition of high definition today.”

Pace yesterday said that, according to recent research, it was now the second largest set-top supplier in the world, up from number three in 2008.