Macau casino operator MGM Grand Paradise booked its maiden profit last year as it began shaping up for an initial public offering in Hong Kong. The joint venture between US billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's MGM Resorts International and Pansy Ho Chiu-king, daughter of Macau gaming magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun, swung to a profit of 1.67 billion patacas last year from a loss of 117.5 million patacas in 2009, according to its annual report, published last week in Macau's official government gazette. It was the firm's first profit since opening the US$1.2 billion MGM Macau casino hotel in December 2007. MGM Grand Paradise's casino revenue surged 62.5 per cent to 16.8 billion patacas, growing faster than the overall Macau market due to soaring wagers from high-stakes gamblers and a better run of luck for the house on its VIP baccarat tables. The casino's VIP chip turnover, or wagers, rose 48.5 per cent to 419.8 billion patacas. The win rate, or percentage of those bets kept by the house, was 2.9 per cent - in line with industry averages and better than the below-average 2.5 per cent win rate it booked in 2009. Mass-market table games drop, or wagers, rose 24.8 per cent to 15.1 billion patacas, while slot machine wagers rose 57.8 per cent to 18.3 billion patacas. MGM Grand Paradise's cash flow, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda), more than doubled to 2.92 billion patacas, up 139 per cent from 1.22 billion patacas in 2009. The improved financials are likely to increase the attractiveness of the planned IPO of MGM China Holdings, the joint venture's Cayman Islands-registered listing vehicle, which reportedly aims to raise up to US$1 billion. MGM China had its initial hearing before the listing committee of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing on Thursday. The committee did not approve the application but instead 'issued a comment letter as a part of their ongoing review process', MGM Resorts said in a US stock exchange filing. It is not uncommon for the listing committee to raise questions and request additional information of IPO candidates, a process that often takes several weeks. 'MGM China continues to work closely with the HKSE to address all remaining items in order to achieve a prompt listing of its shares on the [Hong Kong stock exchange]. The timing or terms of any such listing have not yet been determined,' MGM's announcement said. MGM and Ho currently each have a 50 per cent stake in their Macau venture. The IPO would see Ho sell at least 20 per cent, and as much as 23 per cent, of her interest to public shareholders, and sell another 1 per cent to MGM Resorts. As a result, the US firm would take a 51 per cent stake in the Macau venture, leaving Ho with a 26 to 29 per cent stake and putting the remaining 20 to 23 per cent in the hands of public shareholders. All the proceeds of the Hong Kong IPO will go directly to Ho, who will use US$300 million of the prospective windfall to subscribe to convertible notes to be issued by New York-listed MGM Resorts, according to the US firm's filings. MGM Resorts will report earnings for the first three months of the year tonight, before US markets open.