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Philips books €48 mln gain on Pace stake sale

  Dutch electronics company Philips Electronics NV said on Friday it would book a €48 million ($63 million) gain on the sale of its 17% stake in British set-top box maker Pace Plc.

Philips, which will book the non-taxable gain in the Q2, said the sale was in line with its strategy to dispose of non-core shareholdings. The capital markets transaction reduced its holding in Pace to zero. Philips received the stake of 50.7 million shares when it sold its set-top box business to Pace last April.

J.P. Morgan Cazenove, which had said earlier it was handling the share placing, said Pace had agreed to waive the lock-up period given by Philips, which was due to expire on April 21, 2009.

Shares in Pace, which makes devices for BSkyB, Canal Plus and Comcast Corp, hit a seven-year high of 155 pence on April 8 after the company announced very significant upgrades to its 2009 outlook.

The group said it was benefiting from consumers opting for home entertainment rather than going out, and for the increasing popularity of high-definition television and personal video recorders. (Reuters)