as Vegas Sands Corp. reported its financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, compared to the same period of the prior year.
Sheldon G. Adelson, Chairman and CEO of the company, said: "We are pleased to have delivered strong financial results in the quarter, led by consistent growth in the mass and non-gaming segments in Macao. Our market-leading Integrated Resort property portfolio in Macao delivered revenue growth of 13% in the high-margin mass gaming table segment and adjusted property EBITDA of $858 million. At Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, our hotel, retail, convention and mass gaming segments all exhibited strength, contributing to $423 million of adjusted property EBITDA for the quarter.”
In Macao, adjusted property EBITDA increased by 8.7% to $858 million, while hold-normalized adjusted property EBITDA increased by 8.9% to $835 million.
"We are also extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with the Singapore Tourism Board to invest an additional $3.3 billion to expand our Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort in Singapore. Our investments will include spectacular new attractions including a state-of-the-art arena designed specifically for live musical entertainment and theatrical performances, a luxurious new hotel tower, additional MICE capacity and luxury retail. We believe the expansion of Marina Bay Sands will meaningfully enhance Singapore's appeal as a leisure and business tourism destination while creating an outstanding platform for growth for the company,” Adelson added.
And he continued: "In Macao, construction and development work on the Four Seasons Tower Suites Macao and the Londoner Macao is progressing. We believe our market-leading interconnected Integrated Resort portfolio in Macao, bolstered by our investments in additional luxurious hotel suite offerings, destination retail, MICE capacity and entertainment attractions, positions us exceedingly well to continue to contribute to Macao's economic diversification and to deliver growth in the years ahead."
The company paid a recurring quarterly dividend of $0.77 per common share and increased its return of capital through share repurchases of $174 million during the quarter. The company announced its next quarterly dividend of $0.77 per common share will be paid on June 27, 2019, to Las Vegas Sands shareholders of record on June 19, 2019.
Net revenue for the first quarter of 2019 increased by 1.9% to $3.65 billion, compared to $3.58 billion in the first quarter of 2018. Net income decreased 54.0% to $744 million, and included a nonrecurring legal settlement. The $1.62 billion net income in the first quarter of 2018 included a nonrecurring non-cash income tax benet of $670 million.
On a GAAP (accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America) basis, operating income in the first quarter of 2019 decreased 16.1% to $971 million, compared to $1.16 billion in the first quarter of 2018. The decrease in operating income was primarily due to decreases in Rolling Chip win percentage and volume in Singapore and a nonrecurring legal settlement, oset by stronger operating performance in its Macao business due to an 8.1% increase in revenues.
Consolidated adjusted property EBITDA (a non-GAAP measure) of $1.45 billion decreased 3.2% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019. On a hold-normalized basis, consolidated adjusted property EBITDA increased 2.7% to $1.42 billion.
On a GAAP basis, net income attributable to Las Vegas Sands in the first quarter of 2019 decreased to $582 million, compared to $1.46 billion in the first quarter of 2018, while diluted earnings per share of $0.75 represented a decrease of 59.2% compared to the prior-year quarter. The decrease was due to the operating and other factors described above and increased interest expense.
Adjusted net income attributable to Las Vegas Sands (a non-GAAP measure) was $708 million, or $0.91 per diluted share, compared to $821 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2018. Hold-normalized adjusted earnings per diluted share was $0.89.
Regarding Sands China Ltd. consolidated financial results, on a GAAP basis, total net revenues for SCL increased 8% to $2.33 billion in the first quarter of 2019, compared to $2.16 billion in the first quarter of 2018. Net income for SCL was unchanged at $557 million in the first quarter of 2019 and 2018.
Depreciation and amortization expense was $301 million in the first quarter of 2019, compared to $264 million in the first quarter of 2018. The increase relates to the acceleration of depreciation expense for certain Sands Cotai Central assets as it is converted into The Londoner Macao.
Interest expense, net of amounts capitalized, was $141 million for the first quarter of 2019, compared to $89 million in the prior-year quarter. The increase resulted from increased level of borrowings from the SCL Notes issued in August 2018 and from the US credit facility in June 2018 and the company’s weighted average borrowing cost in the first quarter of 2019 increasing to 4.6%, compared to 3.5% during the first quarter of 2018.
Las Vegas Sands’ effective income tax rate for the first quarter of 2019 was 10.3% compared to (54.6)% in the prior-year quarter. The tax rate for the first quarter of 2019 is primarily driven by a provision for the earnings from Marina Bay Sands at the 17% Singapore income tax rate.
Unrestricted cash balances as of March 31, 2019 were $4.13 billion. Total debt outstanding, excluding nance leases, was $11.98 billion as of that date. Furthermore, capital expenditures during the first quarter totaled $240 million, including construction, development and maintenance activities of $128 million in Macao, $61 million in Las Vegas and $49 million at Marina Bay Sands.