Set-top box maker Pace expects U.S. demand to boost earnings by 20 percent

(Reuters) - British set-top box maker Pace Plc said full-year earnings would beat previous expectations and jump at least 20 percent, driven by strong demand from North America, its largest market.

The company's shares shot up about 5 percent in early trade on Thursday morning, making it the biggest percentage gainer on the FTSE-250 <.FTMC> index.

Pace, whose three major customers are Comcast , AT&T and DIRECTV , said operating margin for the year ended December 31 would be no less that 7.7 percent.

The TV decoder maker said it expects adjusted earnings before interest, tax and amortisation to rise to at least $190 million, compared with $158.1 million a year earlier.

The company had raised its full-year forecast in July after first-half profit more than tripled.

Pace, which develops technology for pay TV and broadband service providers, also said it expected full-year revenue to rise 2.4 percent to $2.46 billion.

Analysts on average had expected the company to report full-year revenue of $2.45 billion and pretax profit of $169 million.

Pace's shares, which have risen about 9.9 percent since the company raised its profit forecast in July, were up 2 percent at 348.6 pence at 0821 GMT.

(Reporting by Karen Rebelo and Richa Naidu in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)