LA JOLLA, Calif., Nov. 9, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PICO Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:PICO) reported shareholders' equity of $573.9 million ($25.28 per share) at September 30, 2010, compared to $574.5 million ($25.37 per share) at June 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 $0.09, or 0.4%, during the third quarter of 2010, and decreased by $0.51, or 2%, over the first nine months of 2010. Commenting on the year to date, PICO's President and Chief Executive Officer, John Hart, said: "During the first nine months of 2010, Union Community Partners, LLC invested an additional $27 million to develop its residential lot inventory, and to acquire additional lots. As of September 30, 2010, UCP owns or controls a total of 459 finished lots and 4,205 potential lots in various stages of entitlement, for an investment of more than $95 million. Inventory and affordability statistics for our markets continue to be favorable. "In September, we entered into definitive agreements to build and operate a canola processing plant with an integrated refinery near Hallock, Minnesota. The plant will initially be permitted to process up to 365,000 tons of canola seed annually, and produce over 280 million pounds of high value, food grade RBD (refined, bleached and deodorized) canola oil, and 195,000 tons of canola meal, annually. The plant is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2012. "The total cost of the facility is estimated at $168 million. PICO will contribute approximately $60 million of equity for an 88% ownership interest. Closing of the transaction is subject to the completion of a non-recourse, senior secured construction loan facility of approximately $100 million. "Also during the first nine months 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.