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PICO Holdings, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter And Full Year 2010 Results

LA JOLLA, Calif., March 1, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PICO Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:PICO) reported shareholders' equity of $568.1 million ($25.03 per share) at December 31, 2010, compared to $573.9 million ($25.28 per share) at September 30, 2010, and $582.6 million ($25.79 per share) at December 31, 2009. Reported book value per share attributable to PICO shareholders decreased by $0.25, or 1%, during the fourth quarter of 2010, and decreased by $0.76, or 3%, over the 2010 financial year.

PICO's President and Chief Executive Officer, John Hart, commented:

"Subsequent to the year end, our 37% owned company, spigit, Inc., raised an additional $10 million from an existing shareholder, a leading private equity firm, which now values spigit at $85 million. After this transaction we now own approximately 31% of spigit. Spigit has become the world's largest provider of innovation management software and services. Utilizing social media, spigit's products and services are transforming how large organizations communicate and innovate. For more information visit spigit.com.

"In December 2010, we closed on an agreement to invest $60 million for an 88% ownership interest in a new operation, PICO Northstar Hallock, LLC, doing business as Northstar Agri Industries, which will construct and operate a canola seed processing plant with an integrated food grade oil refinery near Hallock, Minnesota.

"The total remaining cost of the facility and its initial working capital requirements are estimated at $158 million. Northstar has obtained a $100 million non-recourse, senior secured construction loan commitment from ING Capital LLC, which we expect to close on in the spring of 2011.

"Construction of the plant began in January 2011. It is anticipated that construction will be complete, and that the plant will commence production of canola oil and canola meal, in the fourth quarter of 2012. The plant is permitted to process up to 1,000 tons of canola seed per day initially. Pending the completion of additional environmental permitting, it is estimated that the capacity can be increased to 1,500 tons per day at an additional cost of $10.5 million.

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