March 5 (Reuters) - British set-top box maker Pace Plc (Other OTC: PCMXF - news) said full-year profit rose 46 percent, boosted by higher demand from North American clients such as Comcast Corp and DirecTV (NasdaqGS: DTV - news) , but forecast 2013 revenue to be almost at last year's levels.
The company, which supplies decoders to global television operators like Virgin Media Inc (NasdaqGS: VMED - news) , Sky Deutschland AG (Other OTC: SKDTY - news) and AT&T Inc, said it expects operating margin to increase to about 7.5 percent this year from 6.6 percent last year.
Pace's revenue rose 4.1 percent to $2.4 billion in 2012, helped by higher demand in the fourth quarter. Revenue in North America, the company's largest market, increased about 24 percent to $1.32 billion.
Pretax profit increased to $80.1 million from $54.7 million.
Strong demand for Pace's next-generation media servers - advanced set-top boxes such as the DMS7000 and DMC7000 - in its North American market prompted the company to raise its earnings forecast twice last year, despite a weak first half.
"We believe the digital PayTV market in North America will continue to see low single-digit annual growth in subscribers for the foreseeable future," the company said.
The set-top box market has become hotly competitive with the entry of companies like Apple Inc (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) , Amazon.com Inc and Netflix Inc (NasdaqGS: NFLX - news) . Even chipmaker Intel Corp has begun eyeing it.
Pace's shares closed at 227.5 pence on the London Stock Exchange on Monday.