* MGM hires 5 banks for planned $500 mln HK listing-sources
* Listing likely in second half of 2010-source (Adds details, background)
By Kennix Chim
HONG KONG, March 30 (Reuters) - Casino company MGM Mirage (MGM.N) has hired five banks for Hong Kong listing of its Macau operations, expected to raise about $500 million, sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Tuesday.
The banks mentioned either declined to comment or were not immediately available. MGM was not available for a comment.
The sources declined to be identified because the details have not been officially announced.
The listing is scheduled for the second half of 2010, one source said.
If the planned float proceeds, it would be the third U.S. casino company since November to float its Macau operations on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
MGM, which has come close to defaulting on its debt, has only one casino property in Macau, the MGM Grand Macau, and has not shed light on its expansion plans.
Analysts have been sceptical about MGM achieving a high valuation for its Hong Kong listing on concerns of lack of expansion plans in the enclave, the world’s largest and fastest-growing gambling market located an hour away by ferry from Hong Kong.
Sands China raised $2.5 billion in its IPO in November, while Wynn Macau raised $1.87 billion in October. The offerings were among two of the top 10 IPOs in Asia last year and helped Hong Kong achieve the status as the exchange that produced the world’s largest IPO proceeds. (Editing by Denny Thomas and Lincoln Feast)