LA JOLLA, Calif., March 4, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PICO Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:PICO) reported shareholders' equity of $473.2 million ($20.82 per share) at December 31, 2012, compared to $477.1 million ($20.95 per share) at September 30, 2012 and $501.8 million ($22.10 per share) at December 31, 2011. Reported book value per share attributable to PICO shareholders decreased by $1.28, or 5.8%, during 2012. PICO's President and Chief Executive Officer, John Hart, commented: "In 2012, UCP, LLC generated revenues of $58.1 million and gross margin of $16.5 million from the sale of 41 homes and 560 lots in California and Central Puget Sound, Washington. This included the sale of 24 homes and 336 lots for $29.9 million and gross margin of $8.6 million during the fourth quarter of 2012. We are experiencing strong demand from both homebuilders acquiring lot inventory and individual home-buyers in the carefully selected sub-markets in which UCP operates. We are budgeting for a higher level of sales this year, and based on current conditions intend to begin construction of more than 200 homes in 2013. "At the end of 2012, UCP owned or controlled approximately 63 finished or partially completed homes built by its subsidiary Benchmark Communities, 949 finished lots, and 3,904 potential lots in various stages of development or entitlement. We began to acquire residential lots in selected California sub-markets in 2008. The lot inventory had a carrying value of $123.4 million on PICO's balance sheet as of December 31, 2012. "Of the 4,916 lots UCP owned or controlled, 2,479 are located in the Central Valley of California, 1,633 in the Monterey, California area, 93 in the Bay Area of California, and 711 in the Central Puget Sound market area of Seattle, Washington. "In December 2012, Vidler Water Company announced a definitive agreement to sell 1,021 acres of land and the related 3,063 acre-feet of groundwater in Arizona's Harquahala Valley to two golf courses for approximately $10 million. We anticipate that the sale will close in the first quarter of 2013, and be reflected in our 2013 results.