Pace continues to bounce back from disastrous year

It would be tough to have a worse year than Pace Plc (LSE: PIC.L) had in 2011, when it suffered supply chain problems, a management shake-up and the decision by a major customer, BT, to terminate a set-top box deal. So it shouldn't be any surprise that 2012 results were better and the future is seen as brighter for the international pay TV equipment vendor.

"The strategic review we undertook in 2011 highlighted that we operate in sustainable and profitable markets where we have differentiated capabilities," Pace said in a press release.

That has led the company to believe it could thrive even as the pay TV vendor business becomes more challenging--and more challenged by outside influences such as over-the-top (OTT) television, IP-connected consumer electronics devices and a shifting customer landscape.

"Pace's markets have remained resilient during the year with pay TV continuing to show growth despite difficult global economic conditions and perceived disruptive threats from new over-the-top (OTT) market entrants," the company's press release detailed.

The numbers tell part of the story, according to year-end results the company announced today. Revenue was up 4.1 percent to $2.40 billion; profit after tax was up 50.5 percent to $58.4 million; and net debt was down 49.2 percent to $163.3 million, the company's official press release said.

Pace CEO Mike Pulli summed it all up by noting that "Pace has performed impressively in 2012, by delivering increased operating profits through both top-line growth and operational efficiency."

The Pace press release made it clear that Pace is not abandoning its pay TV hardware business, and, in fact, will be pushing forward with both traditional equipment and new gateway platforms.

"A major development this year has been the emergence of the media server product. As the market evolves to a more sophisticated digital device in the home, Pace is uniquely placed to support this technology upgrade cycle… [with] a media server [that] combines the functionality of the STB and the gateway, augmenting traditional broadcast with IP-enabled services and enabling video content to be distributed around the home," the Pace press release said.

During 2012, Pace "maintained [its] position at the forefront of technological development with the launch and deployment of media server platforms at DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and a number of media server wins at operators in Europe, Latam and Asia Pacific," the press release stated.

The company also "achieved a number of key wins and deployments across all areas of our software and service offerings" including customers like BSkyB, Foxtel and Sky New Zealand and has "a strong pipeline into 2013," the company reported.

For more:
- Pace issued this series of investor relations press releases

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