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Amazon expenses, revenue increase

NEW YORK — Amazon’s fourth-quarter net income dropped sharply, weighed down by higher operating expenses even as revenue grew. Investors punished the online retailer’s stock in after-hours trading, as the company also gave a disappointing forecast for the current period.

Seattle-based Inc. said Tuesday that its net income was $177 million, or 38 cents per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That’s down 57 percent from $416 million, or 91 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue grew 35 percent to $17.4 billion. Though it was buoyed by solid holiday sales, the figure fell below the $18.3 billion that analysts polled by FactSet had expected.

Amazon’s operating expenses, meanwhile, grew 38 percent to $17.2 billion. The company has been investing heavily in new sales-fulfillment centers so it can grow its business.

Visitors expected to spend $600,000

Visitors to the Augusta area are expected to spend more than $600,000 this month, according to the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The largest group coming to Augusta will be the 1,000 participants in the Augusta Half Marathon on Feb. 25-26. Runners and their friends and family are expected to spend $113,715.

The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia state convention is the highest-grossing event for February. From Thursday to Saturday, 300 visitors will spend an estimated $151,620.

Other large groups include the Southeast Region­al Taekwondo Compe­tition (400 people spending $60,648), Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia Past Presidents Weekend (50 people spending $80,864) and the Newman Tennis Center USTA Boys 16 National Open (65 people spending $60,648).

Bank reports profit increase from 2010

Security Federal Corp., the holding company for Secur­ity Federal Bank, reported a quarterly profit of $376,000, up from $344,000 from the final quarter in 2010.

The Aiken-based bank reported that the increase was primarily the result of a decrease in expenses.

Total assets were $916.5 million, down from $933.5 million at the end of March, the beginning of its fiscal year. Total deposits are also lower, dropping from $690 million to $689 million.

Patent expiration decreases revenue

Eli Lilly and Co.’s net income fell 27 percent in the last quarter of 2011 as the drugmaker faced another revenue-sapping patent expiration for a key product.

The Indianapolis company earned $858.2 million, or 77 cents per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That’s down from $1.17 billion, or $1.05 per share, in the final quarter of 2010. Revenue fell 2 percent to $6.05 billion.

In its animal health division, which includes Elanco in Augusta, the company reported worldwide quarterly sales of $468.2 million, an increase of 10 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010.

In other news

CYTEC INDUSTRIES, which has a facility in North Augusta, reported net income of $41.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2011, down from $48 million in the final quarter of 2010. For the year, the company reported profits of $207.8 million, or $4.24 per share.

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