PICO has been a name with seemingly much to offer deep value investors over the years. It has a compelling array of assets including land, water and a securities portfolio, but the company has been unable to deliver any semblance of consistency.
PICO has also been very difficult for investors to understand. Earnings and revenue have been lumpy at best. There's never been much stability because the only time the company posted a positive bottom line has been due to asset sales. Management has instead focused on growing book value as its measure of success, which is a foreign concept to many investors, at least as a way to measure success.
Unfortunately, book value per share has been falling the past three years, from $27.84 at year end 2009 to the current $20.80. Relative to the current stock price, that still puts the price to book ratio at just 1.12. But if the company's measure of success is in decline, already confused investors are unlikely to want to own it.
However, PICO has been making some changes these past few years. It's been selling off some businesses and entering new ones, including one that might ultimately deliver a source of consistent revenue and earnings.
PICO Price / Book Value