LA JOLLA, Calif., Aug. 9, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PICO Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:PICO) reported shareholders' equity of $574.5 million ($25.37 per share) at June 30, 2010, compared to $578.1 million ($25.59 per share) at March 31, 2010, and $582.6 million ($25.79 per share) at December 31, 2009. Reported book value per share attributable to PICO shareholders decreased by $0.22, or 0.9%, during the second quarter of 2010, and decreased by $0.42, or 1.6%, over the first six months of 2010.

Commenting on the year to date, PICO's President and Chief Executive Officer, John Hart, said:

"Since 2008, Union Community Partners has invested more than $86 million to acquire and develop residential lots in selected sub-markets in the Central Valley and Central Coast of California. This has been PICO's largest use of capital during this period. We identified sub-markets where the local economy and employment were resilient, and housing affordability and inventory trends were favorable, and acquired lots at a price significantly below current replacement cost in locations where demand was estimated to exceed supply within three years. During the first half of 2010, UCP expended $17.6 million to develop its residential lot inventory, and to acquire additional lots.  As of June 30, 2010, UCP owned or controlled a total of 459 finished lots and 4,077 potential lots in various stages of entitlement.

"During the first half of 2010, Vidler Water Company added to its strategic water assets in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, and successfully settled litigation concerning the permitting of water rights in the Tule Desert Groundwater Basin in Nevada.

"In January, Vidler acquired approximately 126,000 acre-feet of stored water within the Phoenix, Arizona Active Management Area for $15.8 million. This stored water may be recovered and used anywhere in the Phoenix Active Management Area, and could have a variety of uses for commercial developments in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Vidler is continuing its program of purchasing additional water in Arizona and placing it in storage in the Vidler Arizona Recharge Facility, and now has more than 371,000 acre-feet of water in storage in Arizona.