Company Quick10K Filing
Quick10K
Pico Holdings
Closing Price ($) Shares Out (MM) Market Cap ($MM)
$10.94 20 $224
10-K 2018-12-31 Annual: 2018-12-31
10-Q 2018-09-30 Quarter: 2018-09-30
10-Q 2018-06-30 Quarter: 2018-06-30
10-Q 2018-03-31 Quarter: 2018-03-31
10-K 2017-12-31 Annual: 2017-12-31
10-Q 2017-09-30 Quarter: 2017-09-30
10-Q 2017-06-30 Quarter: 2017-06-30
10-Q 2017-03-31 Quarter: 2017-03-31
10-K 2016-12-31 Annual: 2016-12-31
10-Q 2016-09-30 Quarter: 2016-09-30
10-Q 2016-06-30 Quarter: 2016-06-30
10-Q 2016-03-31 Quarter: 2016-03-31
10-K 2015-12-31 Annual: 2015-12-31
10-Q 2015-09-30 Quarter: 2015-09-30
10-Q 2015-06-30 Quarter: 2015-06-30
10-Q 2015-03-31 Quarter: 2015-03-31
10-K 2014-12-31 Annual: 2014-12-31
10-Q 2014-09-30 Quarter: 2014-09-30
10-Q 2014-06-30 Quarter: 2014-06-30
10-Q 2014-03-31 Quarter: 2014-03-31
10-K 2013-12-31 Annual: 2013-12-31
8-K 2019-03-14 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-11-27 Officers
8-K 2018-11-06 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-08-02 Earnings, Officers, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-06-25 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-03 Shareholder Vote, Regulation FD
8-K 2018-03-08 Officers, Other Events, Exhibits
DOCU Docusign 9,380
AA Alcoa 5,140
STRA Strategic Education 3,090
NTRA Natera 1,300
EXTR Extreme Networks 919
LPG Doriang 431
NIHD NII Holdings 188
FONR Fonar 127
CTBO Cantabio Pharmaceuticals 0
ARTL Artelo Biosciences 0
PICO 2018-12-31
Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management, and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
EX-10.3 ex103transitionagreementpe.htm
EX-21.1 picoex211subs10k2018.htm
EX-23.1 picoex231consent10k2018.htm
EX-31.1 picoexhibit31110k2018.htm
EX-31.2 picoexhibit31210k2018.htm
EX-32.1 picoexhibit32110k2018.htm
EX-32.2 picoexhibit32210k2018.htm

Pico Holdings Earnings 2018-12-31

PICO 10K Annual Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

10-K 1 pico1231201810k.htm PICO HOLDINGS, INC. FORM 10-K Document
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
_____________________
FORM 10-K
ý ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2018
OR
¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from _____ to _____
Commission file number 033-36383
PICO HOLDINGS, INC.
pico2015logo.jpg
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
Delaware
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation)
94-2723335
(IRS Employer Identification No.)
3480 GS Richards Blvd, Suite 101 Carson City, Nevada 89703

(Address of Principal Executive Offices, including Zip Code)
Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code
(775) 885-5000
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
Name of Each Exchange On Which Registered
Common Stock, Par Value $0.001
Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined by Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes ¨ No ý
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company, ” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act (check one):
Large accelerated filer ¨
Accelerated filer ý
Non-accelerated filer ¨
Smaller reporting company ý
Non-accelerated filer ¨

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12-b of the Act). Yes ¨ No ý

At June 29, 2018, the aggregate market value of shares of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant (based upon the closing sale price of such shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on June 29, 2018) was $229.8 million, which excludes shares of common stock held in treasury and shares held by executive officers, directors, and stockholders whose ownership exceeds 10% of the registrant’s common stock outstanding at June 29, 2018. This calculation does not reflect a determination that such persons are deemed to be affiliates for any other purposes.

On February 28, 2019, the registrant had 20,482,479 shares of common stock, $0.001 par value, outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement to be filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A in connection with the registrant’s 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, to be filed subsequent to the date hereof, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.




ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
TABLE OF CONTENTS

 
 
Page No.
PART I
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
 
 
 
PART II
Item 5.
 
 
 
Item 7.
 
 
 
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
 
 
 
PART III
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
 
 
PART IV
Item 15.
 
 
 
 

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PART I

Note About “Forward-Looking Statements”

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (including “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”) contains “forward-looking statements,” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, regarding our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects, including, without limitation, statements about our expectations, beliefs, intentions, anticipated developments, and other information concerning future matters. Words such as “may”, “will”, “could”, “expects”, “anticipates”, “intends”, “plans”, “believes”, “seeks”, “estimates”, and similar expressions or variations of such words are intended to identify forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Although forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K reflect the good faith judgment of our management, such statements can only be based on current expectations and assumptions and are not guarantees of future performance. Consequently, forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risk and uncertainties, and the actual results and outcomes could differ materially from future results and outcomes expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences in results and outcomes include, without limitation, those discussed under Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors”, as well as those discussed elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and in other filings we may make from time to time with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) after the date of this report. Readers are urged not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We undertake no obligation to (and we expressly disclaim any obligation to) revise or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, subsequent events, or otherwise, in order to reflect any event or circumstance that may arise after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, unless otherwise required by law. Readers are urged to carefully review and consider the various disclosures made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and the other filings we may make from time to time with the SEC after the date of this report, which attempt to advise interested parties of the risks and uncertainties that may affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

Introduction

PICO Holdings, Inc. is a holding company that was incorporated in 1981. In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, PICO and its subsidiaries are collectively referred to as “PICO,” the “Company,” or by words such as “we,” “us,” and “our.” Our business is primarily operated through our wholly owned subsidiary, Vidler Water Company, Inc. (“Vidler”).

Our objective is to maximize long-term shareholder value. Currently, we believe the highest potential return to shareholders is from a return of capital. As we monetize assets, we intend to return capital back to shareholders through a stock repurchase program or by other means such as special dividends. We may, from time to time, reinvest a portion of proceeds from asset monetizations in further development of existing assets if we believe the returns on such reinvestment outweigh the benefits of a return of capital.

Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and, if applicable, amendments to those reports, are made available free of charge on our web site (www.picoholdings.com) as soon as reasonably practicable after the reports are electronically filed or furnished with the SEC. Our website also contains other material about our Company. Information on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our corporate office is located at 3480 GS Richards Blvd., Suite 101, Carson City, Nevada 89703, and our telephone number is (775) 885-5000.

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Additional information regarding the performance of and recent developments in our operating segments is included in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.


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Our Business

We are primarily focused on monetizing our existing water rights and storage credits that we own in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The long-term future demand for our existing water assets is driven by population and economic growth relative to currently available water supplies in the southwestern United States. We have developed sources of water for municipal and industrial use, either from existing supplies of water, such as water used for agricultural purposes, acquired unappropriated (previously unused) water, or discovered new water sources based on science and targeted exploration. We are not a water utility, and do not currently intend to enter into regulated utility activities.

A water right is the legal right to divert water and put it to beneficial use. Water rights are real property rights which can be bought and sold and are commonly measured in acre-feet (“AF”), which is a measure of the volume of water required to cover an area of one acre to a depth of one foot and is equal to 325,850 gallons. The value of a water right depends on a number of factors, which may include location, the seniority of the right, whether or not the right is transferable, or if the water can be moved from one location to another. We believe we have purchased water rights at prices consistent with their then current use, which was typically agricultural in nature, with the expectation that the value would increase as we converted the water rights through the development process to a higher use, such as municipal and industrial use. We acquired and developed water resources with the expectation that such water resources would be the most competitive source of water (the most economical source of water supply) to support new growth in municipalities or new commercial and industrial projects.

Over the past eight years, the population growth of the states where we own water rights and storage credits has exceeded the national growth rate collectively and individually, with the exception of New Mexico. According to the Census Bureau’s estimate of state population changes for the period April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2018, Nevada’s growth rate was 12.4%, Arizona was 12.2%, Colorado was 13.2%, and New Mexico was 1.8%. These population growth statistics compare to the national total growth rate of 5.96% over the same period.

Historically, a significant portion of the Southwest’s water supplies have come from the Colorado River. The balance is provided by other surface rights, such as rivers and lakes, groundwater (water pumped from underground aquifers), and water previously stored in reservoirs or aquifers. Prolonged droughts (decreased snow pack runoff and the related decreased surface water) and rapid population growth in the past twenty years have exacerbated the region’s general water scarcity.

In December 2012, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a report titled: The Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study, examining the future water demands on the Colorado River Basin. The report projects water supply and demand imbalances throughout the Colorado River Basin and adjacent areas over the next 50 years. The average imbalance in future supply and demand is projected to be greater than 3.2 million acre-feet per year by 2060. The study projects that the largest increase in demand will come from municipal and industrial users as a result of population growth. The Colorado River Basin currently provides water to approximately 40 million people, and the study estimates that this number could nearly double to approximately 76.5 million people by 2060, under a rapid growth scenario.

Certain areas of the Southwest confronting long-term growth have insufficient known supplies of water to support their future economic and population growth. The inefficient allocation of available water between agricultural users and municipal or industrial users, the lack of available known water supplies in a particular location, or inadequate infrastructure to fully utilize or store existing and new water supplies provide opportunities for us to apply our water resource development expertise.

The development of our water assets required significant capital and expertise. A complete project, from acquisition, through development, permitting, and sale is typically a long-term endeavor. In the regions in which we operate, new housing and commercial and industrial developments require an assured, or sustainable, water supply (for example, in Arizona, access to water supplies for at least 100 years is required) before a permit for the development will be issued.

We have acquired or developed water rights and water related assets in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico. We also developed and operate our own water storage facility near Phoenix, Arizona, utilize water storage capacity operated by third parties in Arizona, and “bank,” or store water for future growth with municipalities in Nevada and New Mexico.

We have also entered into “teaming” and joint resource development arrangements with third parties who have water assets but lack the capital or expertise to commercially develop these assets. The first of these arrangements was a water delivery teaming agreement in southern Nevada with the Lincoln County Water District (“Lincoln/Vidler”), which is developing water resources in Lincoln County, Nevada. In northern Nevada, we have also entered into a joint development agreement with Carson City and Lyon County, Nevada to develop and provide water resources in Lyon County as well as a water banking agreement with Truckee Meadows Water Authority in Reno, Nevada.


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We generate revenues by:

selling our developed water rights to real estate developers, power generating facilities or other commercial and industrial users who must secure rights to an assured, or sustainable, supply of water in order to receive permits for their development projects;
selling our developed water rights to water utilities, municipalities and other government agencies for their specific needs, including to support population and economic growth;
selling our stored water to state agencies, commercial developers or municipalities that have either exhausted their existing water supplies or require reserves for future water obligations, or, in instances where our water represents the most economical source of water, for their commercial projects or communities; and
leasing and selling of our water or land.

We owned the following significant water resource and water storage assets at December 31, 2018:

Fish Springs Ranch

We own a 51% membership interest in, and are the managing partner of, Fish Springs Ranch, LLC (“FSR”), which owns the Fish Springs Ranch and other properties totaling approximately 7,310 acres in Honey Lake Valley in Washoe County, Nevada approximately 40 miles north of Reno, Nevada. FSR also owns approximately 12,907 acre-feet of permitted water rights related to the properties of which 7,907 acre-feet are designated as water credits, transferable to other areas within Washoe County (such as Reno and Sparks) to support community development. Although the additional 5,000 AF has been approved and permitted by the Nevada State Engineer, existing federal rights of way will need to be updated before such water is transferable. To date, we have funded all of the operational expenses, development, and construction costs incurred in this partnership. Certain of the development and construction costs are treated as preferred capital under the partnership agreement which among other things, entitles us to receive interest on the initial balance of the preferred capital and the accumulated interest at the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) plus 450 basis points. The preferred capital and accumulated interest is first in line to be paid out as the partnership generates sufficient revenue. At December 31, 2018 the balance in the preferred capital account, including $87.1 million of accrued interest, was $181.7 million and the associated interest rate was 7.31%.

During 2006, we started construction of a pipeline and an electrical substation to provide the power required to pump the water to the north valleys region of Reno. In July 2008, we completed construction of and dedicated our pipeline and associated infrastructure to Washoe County, Nevada under the terms of an Infrastructure Dedication Agreement (“IDA”) between Washoe County and FSR. Under the provisions of the IDA, Washoe County is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the pipeline and we own the exclusive right to the capacity of the pipeline to allow for the sale of water for future economic development in the north valley area of Reno. As of December 31, 2018, our remaining 7,907 acre-feet of water that has regulatory approval to be imported to the north valleys of Reno is available for sale under a Water Banking Trust Agreement entered into between FSR and Washoe County. Under the Water Banking Trust Agreement, Washoe County holds our water rights in trust. We can sell our water credits to developers, who must then dedicate the water to the local water utility for service. In December 2014, Washoe County Water Utilities merged with the Truckee Meadows Water Authority (“TMWA”), consolidating water supply service in Washoe County. Also effective at the end of 2014, FSR, Washoe County, and TMWA consented to the assignment of the Water Banking Trust Agreement and the IDA to the Truckee Meadows Water Authority.

The property is a working ranch and is comprised of 7,310 acres of land owned by us and approximately 180,000 acres of a Bureau of Land Management grazing allotment. The land and allotment are currently leased to a cattle company for grazing. The ranch also grows alfalfa hay and grass that is sold to cattle operators, dairies and feed stores. We have entered into an option agreement with a solar company to lease up to 2,600 acres for solar panels and battery storage.

Carson/Lyon

The capital of Nevada, Carson City, and Lyon County are located in the western part of the state, close to Lake Tahoe and the border with California. While Carson City’s housing growth has been and is expected to be minimal due to land constraints, there is planned growth for the Dayton corridor, directly east of Carson City. The planned growth in this area is anticipated to be driven by the employment growth at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center (“TRIC”) and the construction of the extension of the USA Parkway, completed in August 2017, which connects Interstate route 80 to TRIC and to U.S. route 50 near Silver Springs, Lyon County. There are currently few existing water sources to support future growth and development in the Dayton corridor area and we have worked with Carson City and Lyon County for several years on ways to deliver water to support this expected growth.


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We have development and improvement agreements with both Carson City and Lyon County to provide water resources for planned future growth in Lyon County and to connect, or “intertie,” the municipal water systems of Carson City and Lyon County. The agreements allow for certain river water rights owned or controlled by us to be conveyed for use in Lyon County. The agreements also allow us to bank water with Lyon County and authorize us to build the infrastructure to upgrade and inter-connect the Carson City and Lyon County water systems.

We own or control water rights consisting of both Carson River agriculture designated water rights and certain municipal and industrial designated water rights. We anticipate that we will have up to approximately 3,500 acre-feet available for municipal use in Lyon County for future development, if and when demand occurs, principally by means of delivery through the new infrastructure we constructed.

Vidler Arizona Recharge Facility

We built and received the necessary permits to operate a full-scale water “recharge” facility that allowed us to bank water underground in the Harquahala Valley, Arizona. “Recharge” is the process of placing water into storage underground. When needed, the water will be “recovered,” or removed from storage, through groundwater wells. This stored water creates a long term storage credit (“LTSC”). The Arizona Department of Water Resources tracks and documents the LTSCs stored throughout Arizona.

We recharged Colorado River water at this facility, which is a primary source of water for the Lower Basin States of Arizona, California, and Nevada. The water storage facility is strategically located adjacent to the Central Arizona Project (“CAP”) aqueduct, a conveyance canal running from Lake Havasu to Phoenix and Tucson. Our recharged water was purchased from surplus flows of CAP water. Proximity to the CAP aqueduct provides a competitive advantage as it minimizes the cost of water conveyance of our LTSCs.
Potential users include industrial companies, power-generating companies, developers, and local governmental political subdivisions in Arizona, including municipalities and incorporated areas, and out-of-state users such as municipalities and water agencies in Nevada and California. The Arizona Water Banking Authority (“AWBA”) has the responsibility for intrastate and interstate storage of water for governmental entities. To date, we have not stored water at the facility for any third party and there is no longer excess water which can be banked.

While Arizona was the only southwestern state with surplus flows of Colorado River water available for storage, there is no surplus flows available to us as drought conditions have reduced the flow of the Colorado River and other water users have fully utilized their water allocations. In the future, we do not anticipate purchasing and storing surplus flows of Colorado River water and we have discontinued using the recharge element of the storage site. At December 31, 2018, we had LTSCs of approximately 250,600 acre-feet of water in storage at the facility. To date, we have not generated any revenue from selling our stored water at this facility.

Phoenix AMA Water Storage

As of December 31, 2018, we owned approximately 53,600 acre-feet of LTSCs stored in the Phoenix Active Management Area (“AMA”), of which 13,445 AF are under agreements of purchase and sale by third parties expiring in December 2019 and November 2021. However, the buyers have the option to terminate the agreements with 10 days notice without any obligation to purchase any additional LTSCs. Water stored in the AMA may be recovered and used anywhere in the AMA and could have a variety of uses for residential and commercial developments within the Phoenix metropolitan area. All of the storage sites we utilize within the AMA are operated by third parties.

Harquahala Valley Ground Water Basin

Any new residential development in Arizona within an AMA must obtain a permit from the Arizona Department of Water Resources certifying a “designated assured water supply” sufficient to sustain the development for at least 100 years. Harquahala Valley groundwater meets the designation of assured water supply.

As of December 31, 2018, we owned 1,926 acres of land and have the ability to utilize 6,040 acre-feet of groundwater for development within the Harquahala Basin. The Analysis of Adequate Water Supply for the 6,040 acre-feet must be renewed before December 2021 in order to maintain these rights.


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Lincoln County, Nevada Water Delivery and Teaming Agreement

Lincoln County Nevada (“Lincoln”) and Vidler entered into a water delivery teaming agreement to locate and develop water resources in Lincoln County, Nevada for planned projects under the Lincoln County master plan. Under the agreement, proceeds from sales of water will be shared equally after Vidler is reimbursed for the expenses incurred in developing water resources in Lincoln County. Lincoln/Vidler has filed applications for more than 100,000 acre-feet of water rights with the intention of supplying water for residential, commercial, and industrial use, as contemplated by the county’s approved master plan. We believe that this is the only known new source of water for Lincoln County. Although it is uncertain, Vidler currently anticipates that over the long-term, up to 40,000 acre-feet of water rights will ultimately be permitted from these applications, and put to use for planned projects in Lincoln County.

Tule Desert Groundwater Basin

Lincoln/Vidler jointly filed permit applications in 1998 for approximately 14,000 acre-feet of water rights for industrial use from the Tule Desert Groundwater Basin in Lincoln County, Nevada. In November 2002, the Nevada State Engineer awarded Lincoln/Vidler a permit for 2,100 acre-feet of water rights, which Lincoln/Vidler subsequently sold in 2005, and ruled that an additional 7,240 acre-feet could be granted pending additional studies by Lincoln/Vidler (the “2002 Ruling”). Subsequent to the 2002 Ruling and consistent with the Nevada State Engineer’s conditions, we completed these additional engineering and scientific studies.

On April 15, 2010, Lincoln/Vidler and the Nevada State Engineer announced a Settlement Agreement with respect to litigation between the parties regarding the amount of water to be permitted in the Tule Desert Groundwater Basin. The Settlement Agreement resulted in the granting to Lincoln/Vidler of the original application of 7,240 acre-feet of water rights with an initial 2,900 acre-feet of water rights available for sale or lease by Lincoln/Vidler. The balance of the water rights (4,340 acre-feet) is the subject of staged pumping and development over the next several years to further refine the modeling of the basin and potential impacts, if any, from deep aquifer pumping in the remote, unpopulated desert valley in Lincoln County, Nevada.

The Tule Desert Groundwater Basin water resources were developed by Lincoln/Vidler to support the Lincoln County Recreation, Conservation and Development Act of 2004 (the “Land Act”). The water permitted under the Settlement Agreement is anticipated to provide sufficient water resources to a portion of the Land Act properties.

Kane Springs

In 2005, Lincoln/Vidler agreed to sell water to a developer of Coyote Springs, a new planned residential and commercial development 60 miles north of Las Vegas, as and when supplies were permitted from Lincoln/Vidler’s existing applications in Kane Springs, Nevada. Lincoln/Vidler currently has priority applications for approximately 17,375 acre-feet of water in Kane Springs for which the Nevada State Engineer has requested additional data before making a determination on the applications from this groundwater basin. The actual permits received may be for a lesser quantity, which cannot be accurately predicted.

Currently, we have an option agreement with a developer to sell our remaining 500 acre-feet of water rights we own in this area at a price of $6,358 per acre-foot that is escalated at 7.5% per year from September 2017. The agreement expires in September 2019 with a cost to exercise of approximately $3.5 million. To date, the developer has made all required annual option payments.


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The following table summarizes our other water rights and real estate assets at December 31, 2018:
Name and location of asset
 
Brief description
 
Present commercial use
Nevada:
 
 
 
 
Truckee River Water Rights
 
Approximately 299 acre-feet of Truckee River water rights permitted for municipal use.
 
Water rights are available to support development through sale, lease, or partnering arrangements.
Dry Lake
 
Vidler owns 600 acres of agricultural and ranch land in Dry Lake Valley North. Lincoln/Vidler owns the 1,009 acre-feet of permitted agricultural groundwater rights associated with the land.

Located in Lincoln County.
 
Water rights and land are available to support development through sale, lease, or partnering arrangements.
Muddy River
 
267 acre-feet of water rights.

Located 35 miles east of Las Vegas.
 
Currently leased to Southern Nevada Water Authority in the Muddy River Irrigation Company.
Dodge Flat
 
1,397 acre-feet of permitted municipal and industrial use water rights, and 1,064 acres of land.

Located in Washoe County, east of Reno.
 
Water rights and land are currently under contract. In January 2018 31.5 acre-feet were sold to a mining company.

In November 2014, we entered into an option agreement with a solar developer for 1,064 acres of land and 18AF of water rights.
Colorado:
 
 
 
 
Tunnel
 
Approximately 152 acre-feet of water rights.

Located in Summit County (the Colorado Rockies), near Breckenridge.
 
57 acre-feet of water leased under long term leases. 95 acre-feet are available for sale or lease.
New Mexico:
 
 
 
 
Campbell Ranch
 
Application for a new appropriation of 350 acre-feet of ground water. Vidler is in partnership with the land owner. The water rights would be used for a new residential and commercial development.

Located 25 miles east of Albuquerque.
 
In November 2014, our application was denied by the New Mexico State Engineer causing us to record an impairment loss of $3.5 million which reduced the capitalized costs and other assets of this project to zero. We appealed this decision on November 19, 2014. The appeal was denied in February 2019.
Lower Rio Grande Basin
 
Approximately 1,215 acre-feet of agricultural water rights.

Located in Dona Ana and Sierra Counties.
 
Water is available for sale, lease or other partnering opportunities.

In 2014, we entered into a long term lease for a portion of these water rights.
Middle Rio Grande Basin
 
Approximately 99 acre-feet of water rights permitted for municipal use.

Located in Santa Fe and Bernalillo Counties.
 
Water is available for sale, lease, or other partnering opportunities.

Employees

At December 31, 2018, we had 17 employees.

Executive Officers

The executive officers of PICO are:
Name
 
Age
 
Position
Dorothy A. Timian - Palmer
 
61
 
President and Chief Executive Officer
Maxim C. W. Webb
 
57
 
Executive Chairman of the Board
John T. Perri
 
49
 
Chief Financial Officer and Secretary

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Ms. Timian - Palmer has served as our President and Chief Executive Officer since August 2018. Ms. Timian - Palmer has been Chief Executive Officer of Vidler Water Company, Inc. since October 2016 and President of Vidler Water Company. Inc. since October 2008.

Mr. Webb has served as our Executive Chairman since August 2018. Prior to his appointment as Executive Chairman, Mr. Webb was our President and Chief Executive Officer, and a member of our Board of Directors since October 2016 and as Chairman of the Board of Directors since December 2016. Mr. Webb has been an officer of Vidler Water Company, Inc. since 2001. He has served in various capacities since joining our company in 1998, including Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, Executive Vice President and Secretary from 2001 to October 2016.

Mr. Perri has served as our Chief Financial Officer and Secretary since October 2016. He has served in various capacities since joining our company in 1998, including Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer from 2010 to October 2016, Financial Reporting Manager, Corporate Controller and Vice President, Controller from 2003 to 2010.


9



ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

The following information sets out factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements we have made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and those we may make from time to time. You should carefully consider the following risks, together with other matters described in this Form 10-K or incorporated herein by reference in evaluating our business and prospects. If any of the following risks occurs, our business, financial condition or operating results could be harmed. In such case, the trading price of our securities could decline, in some cases significantly.

General economic conditions could have a material adverse effect on our financial results, financial condition and the demand for and the fair value of our assets.

Our operations are sensitive to the general economic conditions of the local markets in which our assets are located although international, national, and regional economic conditions may also impact our markets. General poor economic conditions and the resulting effect of non-existent or slow rates of growth in the markets in which we operate could have a material adverse effect on the demand for our water assets. These poor economic conditions include higher unemployment, inflation, deflation, decreases in consumer demand, changes in buying patterns, a weakened dollar, higher consumer debt levels, higher interest rates, especially higher mortgage rates, and higher tax rates and other changes in tax laws or other economic factors that may affect commercial and residential real estate development.

Specifically, high national, regional, or local unemployment may arrest or delay any significant growth of the residential real estate markets in which we operate, which could adversely affect the demand for our water assets. Any prolonged lack of demand for our water assets could have a significant adverse effect on our revenues, results of operations, cash flows, and the return on our investment from these assets.

Our future revenue is uncertain and depends on a number of factors that may make our revenue, profitability, cash flows, and the fair value of our assets volatile.

Our future revenue and profitability related to our water resource and water storage operations will primarily be dependent on our ability to develop and sell or lease our water assets. In light of the fact that our water resource and water storage operations represent the majority of our overall business at present, our long-term profitability and the fair value of the assets related to our water resource and water storage operations could be affected by various factors, including the drought in the southwest, regulatory approvals and permits associated with such assets, transportation arrangements, and changing technology. We may also encounter unforeseen technical or other difficulties which could result in cost increases with respect to our water resource and water storage development projects. Moreover, our profitability and the fair value of the assets related to our water resource and water storage operations is significantly affected by changes in the market price of water. Future sales and prices of water may fluctuate widely as demand is affected by climatic, economic, demographic and technological factors as well as the relative strength of the residential, commercial, financial, and industrial real estate markets. Additionally, to the extent that we possess junior or conditional water rights, during extreme climatic conditions, such as periods of low flow or drought, our water rights could be subordinated to superior water rights holders. The factors described above are not within our control.

One or more of the above factors in one or more of our operating segments could impact our revenue and profitability, negatively affect our financial condition and cash flows, cause our results of operations to be volatile, and could negatively impact our rate of return on our water assets and cause us to divest such assets for less than our intended return on our investment.

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A downturn in the homebuilding and land development sectors in our markets would materially adversely affect our business, results of operations, and the demand for and the fair value of our assets.

The homebuilding industry experienced a significant and sustained downturn in recent years having been impacted by factors that include, but are not limited to, weak general economic and employment growth, a lack of consumer confidence, large supplies of resale and foreclosed homes, a significant number of homeowners whose outstanding principal balance on their mortgage loan exceeds the market value of their home, and tight lending standards and practices for mortgage loans that limit consumers’ ability to qualify for mortgage financing to purchase a home. These factors resulted in an industry-wide weakness in demand for new homes and caused a material adverse effect on the growth of the local economies and the homebuilding industry in the southwestern United States (“U.S.”) markets where our water assets are located, including the states of Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. The continuation of the recent improvement in residential and commercial real estate development process and activity is essential for our ability to generate operating income in our water resource and water storage business. We are unable to predict whether and to what extent this recovery will continue or its timing. Any future slow-down in real estate and homebuilding activity could adversely impact various development projects within the markets in which our water assets are located and this could materially affect the demand for and the fair value of these assets and our ability to monetize these assets. Declines and weak conditions in the U.S. housing market have reduced our revenues and created losses in our water resource and water storage, and land development and homebuilding businesses in prior years and could do so in the future. Additionally, the recent tax law changes limiting, among other things, deductibility of mortgage interest and of state and local income taxes may have an impact on the national housing market and in the markets in which we operate, although the Nevada market may be less impacted due to the lack of a state income tax.

We may not be able to realize the anticipated value of our water assets in our projected time frame, if at all.

We expect that the current rate of growth of the economy will continue to have an impact on real estate market fundamentals. Depending on how markets perform both in the short and long-term, the state of the economy, both nationally and locally in the markets where our assets are concentrated, could result in a decline in the value of our existing water assets, or result in our having to retain such assets for longer than we initially expected, which would negatively impact our rate of return on our water assets, cause us to divest such assets for less than our intended return on investment, or cause us to incur impairments on the book values of such assets to estimated fair value. Such events would adversely impact our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

The fair values of our water assets are linked to growth factors concerning the local markets in which our assets are concentrated and may be impacted by broader economic issues.

Both the demand for, and fair value of, our water assets are significantly affected by the growth in population and the general state of the local economies where our real estate and water assets are located. The local economies where our real estate and water assets are located, primarily in Arizona and northern Nevada, but also in Colorado and New Mexico, may be affected by factors such as the local level of employment, the availability and cost of financing for real estate development transactions, and affordability of housing. The unemployment rate in these states, as well as issues related to the credit markets, may prolong a slowdown of the local economies where our real estate and water assets are located. This could materially and adversely affect the demand for, and the fair value of, our real estate and water assets and, consequently, adversely affect our growth and revenues, results of operations, cash flows and the return on our investment from these assets.

The fair values of our water assets may decrease which could adversely affect our results of operations with losses from asset impairments.

The fair value of our water resource and water storage assets depends on market conditions. We acquired water resources and land for expansion into new markets and for replacement of inventory and expansion within our current markets. The valuation of real estate and water assets is inherently subjective and based on the individual characteristics of each asset. Factors such as changes in regulatory requirements and applicable laws, political conditions, the condition of financial markets, local and national economic conditions, change in efficiencies of water use, the financial condition of customers, potentially adverse tax consequences, and interest and inflation rate fluctuations subject valuations to uncertainties. In addition, our valuations are made on the basis of assumptions that may not prove to reflect economic or demographic reality. If population growth and, as a result, water and/or housing demand in our markets fails to meet our expectations when we acquired our real estate and water assets, our profitability may be adversely affected and we may not be able to recover our costs when we sell our real estate and water assets. We regularly review the value of our water assets. These reviews have resulted in recording significant impairment losses in prior years to our water resource assets. Such impairments have adversely affected our results of operations and our financial condition in those years.


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If future market conditions adversely impact the anticipated timing of and amount of sales of our water assets we may be required to record further significant impairments to the carrying value of our water assets, which would adversely affect our results of operations and our financial condition.

* The majority of our remaining assets and operations consist of our existing water resource and water storage operations that are concentrated in a limited number of assets and markets, making our cash flows, profitability and the fair value of those assets difficult to predict and vulnerable to conditions and fluctuations in a limited number of local economies.

We anticipate that a significant amount of our water resource and water storage revenue, results of operations and cash flows will come from a limited number of assets, which primarily consist of our water rights in Nevada and our water storage operations in Arizona. Our two most significant assets are our water storage operations in Arizona and our water rights to serve the north valleys area of Reno, Nevada. As a result of this concentration, we expect our invested capital and results of operations will be vulnerable to the conditions and fluctuations in these local economies, along with changes in local and regional government land use, zoning, permitting approvals and other regulatory action.

Our Arizona Recharge Facility is one of the few private sector water storage sites in Arizona. At December 31, 2018, we had approximately 251,000 acre-feet of water stored at the facility. In addition, we had approximately 53,600 acre-feet of water stored in the Phoenix Active Management Area at December 31, 2018. We have not stored any water on behalf of any customers and as of December 31, 2018, had not generated any material revenue from the recharge facility. We cannot be certain that we will ultimately be able to sell all of the stored water at a price sufficient to provide an adequate economic profit, if at all.

We constructed a pipeline approximately 35 miles long to deliver water from Fish Springs Ranch to the north valleys area of Reno, Nevada. As of December 31, 2018, the total cost of the pipeline project, including our water credits (net of impairment losses incurred to date) carried on our balance sheet was approximately $83.1 million. To date, we have sold only a small amount of the water credits and we cannot provide any assurance that the sales prices we may obtain in the future will provide an adequate economic return, if at all. Any prolonged weak demand or lack of permitting approvals for new homes, residential and commercial development, and, as a result, for our assets in Nevada and Arizona, would have a material adverse effect on our future revenues, results of operations, cash flows, and the return on our investment from those assets. Demand for these water credits is anticipated to primarily come from both local and national developers planning to construct new projects in the north valleys area of Reno, Nevada. The success of these projects is dependent on numerous factors beyond our control, including local government approvals, employment growth in the greater Reno area, and the ability of the developers to finance these projects.

We may suffer uninsured losses or suffer material losses in excess of insurance limits.

We could suffer physical damage to any of our assets at one or more of our different businesses and liabilities resulting in losses that may not be fully recoverable by insurance. In addition, certain types of risks, such as personal injury claims, may be, or may become in the future, either uninsurable or not economically insurable, or may not be currently or in the future covered by our insurance policies or otherwise be subject to significant deductibles or limits. Should an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of insured limits occur or be subject to deductibles, we could sustain financial loss or lose capital invested in the affected asset(s) as well as anticipated future income from that asset. In addition, we could be liable to repair damage or meet liabilities caused by risks that are uninsured or subject to deductibles.

We may not receive all of the permitted water rights we expect from the water rights applications we have filed in Nevada and New Mexico.

We have filed certain applications in Nevada and New Mexico to be awarded permitted water rights. To date, the courts in New Mexico have denied our applications and we have not been awarded any water rights in New Mexico. In Nevada our applications are primarily as part of the water teaming agreement with Lincoln County. We deploy the capital required to enable the filed applications to be converted into permitted water rights over time as and when we deem appropriate or as otherwise required. We only expend capital in those areas where our initial investigations lead us to believe that we can obtain a sufficient volume of water to provide an adequate economic return on the capital employed in the project. These capital expenditures largely consist of drilling and engineering costs for water production, costs of monitoring wells, legal and consulting costs for hearings with the State Engineer, and other compliance costs. Until the State Engineer in the relevant state permits the water rights we are applying for, we cannot provide any assurance that we will be awarded all of the water that we expect based on the results of our drilling and our legal position and it may be a considerable period of time before we are able to ascertain the final volume of water rights, if any, that will be permitted by the State Engineer. Any significant reduction in the volume of water awarded to us from our original base expectation of the amount of water that may be permitted may result in the write down of capitalized costs which could adversely affect the return on our investment from those assets, our revenues, results of operations, and cash flows.


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Variances in physical availability of water, along with environmental and legal restrictions and legal impediments, could impact profitability.

We value our water assets, in part, based upon the volume (as measured in acre-feet) of water we anticipate from water rights applications and our permitted water rights. The water and water rights held by us and the transferability of these rights to other uses, persons, and places of use are governed by the laws concerning water rights in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. The volumes of water actually derived from the water rights applications or permitted rights may vary considerably based upon physical availability and may be further limited by applicable legal restrictions.

As a result, the volume of water anticipated from the water rights applications or permitted rights may not in every case represent a reliable, firm annual yield of water, but in some cases describe the face amount of the water right claims or management’s best estimate of such entitlement. Additionally, we may face legal restrictions on the sale or transfer of some of our water assets, which may affect their commercial value. If the volume of water yielded from our water rights applications is less than our expectations, or we are unable to transfer or sell our water assets, we may lose some or all of our anticipated returns, which may adversely affect our revenues, profitability and cash flows.

Purchasers of our real estate and water assets may default on their obligations to us and adversely affect our results of operations and cash flow.

In certain circumstances, we finance sales of real estate and water assets, and we secure such financing through deeds of trust on the property, which are only released once the financing has been fully paid off. Purchasers of our real estate and water assets may default on their financing obligations. Such defaults may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and the results of operations and cash flows.

Our sale of water assets may be subject to environmental regulations which would impact our revenues, profitability, and cash flows.

The quality of the water assets we lease or sell may be subject to regulation by the United States Environmental Protection Agency acting pursuant to the United States Safe Drinking Water Act along with other federal, state and local regulations. While environmental regulations may not directly affect us, the regulations regarding the quality of water distributed affects our intended customers and may, therefore, depending on the quality of our water, impact the price and terms upon which we may in the future sell our water assets. If we need to reduce the price of our water assets in order to make a sale to our intended customers, our balance sheet, return on investment, results of operations and financial condition could suffer.

Our water assets may be impacted by legal and political opposition in certain locations.

The water assets we hold and the transferability of these assets and rights to other uses, persons, or places of use are governed by the laws and regulations concerning water rights in the states of Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico and may be directly or indirectly affected by other federal, state and local laws and regulations related to water and land use. Our development and sale of water assets is subject to the risks of delay associated with receiving all necessary regulatory approvals and permits. Additionally, the transfer of water resources from one use to another may affect the economic base or impact other issues of a community including development, and will, in some instances, be met with local opposition. Moreover, municipalities who will likely regulate the use of any water we might sell to them in order to manage growth could create additional requirements that we must satisfy to sell and convey water assets.

If we are unable to effectively transfer, sell and convey water resources, our ability to monetize these assets will suffer and our return on investment, revenues and financial condition would decline.

If our assets decline in value, our financial condition and the return on our investment could suffer.

Historically, we have acquired and invested in assets that we believed were undervalued or that would benefit from additional capital, restructuring of operations, strategic initiatives, or improved competitiveness through operational efficiencies. If any previously acquired asset fails or its fair value declines, we could experience a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, the results of operations and cash flows. If we are not successful managing our previous acquisitions, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially affected. Such failures, declines in fair values, and/or failure to manage acquisitions, could result in a negative return on equity. We could also lose part or all of our capital in these assets and experience reductions in our net income, cash flows, assets and equity.


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Future dispositions of our businesses, assets, operations and investments, if unsuccessful, could reduce the value of our common shares. Any future dispositions may result in significant changes in the composition of our assets and liabilities. Consequently, our financial condition, results of operations and the trading price of our common shares may be affected by factors different from those historically affecting our financial condition, results of operations and trading price at the present time.

We may need additional capital in the future to fund our business and financing may not be available on favorable terms, if at all, or without dilution to our shareholders.

We currently anticipate that our available capital resources and operating cash flows will be sufficient to meet our expected working capital and capital expenditure requirements for at least the next 12 months. However, we cannot provide any assurance that such resources will be sufficient to fund our business. We may raise additional funds through public or private debt, equity or hybrid securities financings, including, without limitation, through the issuance of securities.

We may experience difficulty in raising necessary capital in view of the recent volatility in the capital markets and increases in the cost of finance, especially for a small capitalization company like ours. Increasingly stringent rating standards could make it more difficult for us to obtain financing. If we raise additional funds through the issuance of equity or convertible debt securities, the percentage ownership of our shareholders could be significantly diluted, and these newly issued securities may have rights, preferences or privileges senior to those of existing shareholders. Indebtedness would result in increased debt service obligations and could result in operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations. The additional financing we may need may not be available to us, or on favorable terms. If adequate funds are not available or are not available on acceptable terms, if and when needed, our ability to fund our operations or otherwise execute our strategic plan would be significantly limited. In any such case, our business, operating results or financial condition could be materially adversely affected.

* Our ability to utilize net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited.

Under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, if we undergo an “ownership change” (generally defined as a greater than 50% change (by value) in our equity ownership over a three year period), the ability to use our pre-change net operating loss carryforwards and other pre-change tax attributes to offset our post-change income may be limited. Notwithstanding our adoption of a tax benefit preservation plan, it is possible that we could experience ownership changes in the future as a result of shifts in our stock ownership. As of December 31, 2018, we had federal and state net operating loss carryforwards of approximately $170.1 million and $154.3 million, respectively, which, depending on our value at the time of any ownership changes, could be limited.

We may not be able to retain key management personnel we need to succeed, which could adversely affect our ability to successfully operate our businesses.

To run our day-to-day operations and to successfully manage our businesses we must, among other things, continue to retain key management. We rely on the services of a small team of key executive officers. If they depart, it could have a significant adverse effect upon our business. Also, increased competition for skilled management and staff employees in our businesses could cause us to experience significant increases in operating costs and reduced profitability.

Analysts and investors may not be able to evaluate us adequately, which may negatively influence the price of our stock.

We own assets that are unique, complex in nature, and difficult to understand. In particular, our water resource business is a developing industry in the United States with very little historical and comparable data, very complex valuation issues and a limited following of analysts. Because our assets are unique, analysts and investors may not be able to adequately evaluate our operations and enterprise as a going concern. This could cause analysts and investors to make inaccurate evaluations of our stock, or to overlook PICO in general. As a result, the trading volume and price of our stock could suffer and may be subject to excessive volatility.


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Fluctuations in the market price of our common stock may affect your ability to sell your shares.

The trading price of our common stock has historically been, and we expect will continue to be, subject to fluctuations. The market price of our common stock may be significantly impacted by:

quarterly variations in financial performance and condition of our various businesses;
shortfalls in revenue or earnings from estimates forecast by securities analysts or others;
changes in estimates by such analysts;
the ability to monetize our water assets for an adequate economic return, including the length of time any such monetization may take;
our competitors’ announcements of extraordinary events such as acquisitions;
litigation; and
general economic conditions and other matters described herein.

Our results of operations have been subject to significant fluctuations, particularly on a quarterly basis, and our future results of operations could fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and from year to year. Causes of such fluctuations may include one time transactions, and impairment losses. Statements or changes in opinions, ratings, or earnings estimates made by brokerage firms or industry analysts relating to the markets in which we do business or relating to us specifically could result in an immediate and adverse effect on the market price of our common stock. Such fluctuations in the market price of our common stock could affect the value of your investment and your ability to sell your shares.

Litigation may harm our business or otherwise distract our management.

Substantial, complex or extended litigation could cause us to incur large expenditures and distract our management. For example, lawsuits by employees, shareholders or customers could be very costly and substantially disrupt our business. Additionally, from time to time we or our subsidiaries will have disputes with companies or individuals which may result in litigation that could necessitate our management’s attention and require us to expend our resources. We may be unable to accurately assess our level of exposure to specific litigation and we cannot provide any assurance that we will always be able to resolve such disputes out of court or on terms favorable to us. We may be forced to resolve litigation in a manner not favorable to us, and such resolution could have a material adverse impact on our consolidated financial condition or results of operations.

We have been the subject of shareholder activism efforts that could cause a material disruption to our business.

In the past, certain investors took steps to involve themselves in the governance and strategic direction of our company due to governance and strategic-related disagreements with us. While we have formally settled with certain of such activists, other investors could take steps to involve themselves in the governance and strategic direction of our Company. Such shareholder activism efforts could result in substantial costs and diversion of management’s attention and resources, harming our business and adversely affecting the market price of our common stock.

Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law may make an acquisition of us more complicated and the removal and replacement of our directors and management more difficult.

Provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, as well as provisions of Delaware law, could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire us, even if doing so would benefit our stockholders. These provisions may also make it difficult for stockholders to remove and replace our board of directors and management. For example, these provisions limit who may call a special meeting of stockholders and establish advance notice requirements for nominations for election to the board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon at stockholder meetings. In addition, we have adopted a tax benefits preservation plan designed to preserve our ability to utilize our net operating losses as a result of certain stock ownership changes, which may have the effect of discouraging transactions involving an actual or potential change in our ownership. The tax benefit preservation plan was ratified by our shareholders at our 2018 annual meeting.

If equity analysts do not publish research or reports about our business or if they issue unfavorable commentary or downgrade our common stock, the price of our common stock could decline.

The trading market for our common stock will rely in part on the research and reports that equity research analysts may publish about us and our business. We do not control these analysts. The price of our stock could decline if one or more equity analysts downgrade our stock or if those analysts issue other unfavorable commentary or cease publishing reports about us or our business.


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Our business could be negatively impacted by cyber security threats.

In the ordinary course of our business, we use our data centers and our networks to store and access our proprietary business information. We face various cyber security threats, including cyber security attacks to our information technology infrastructure and attempts by others to gain access to our proprietary or sensitive information. The procedures and controls we use to monitor these threats and mitigate our exposure may not be sufficient to prevent cyber security incidents. The result of these incidents could include disrupted operations, lost opportunities, misstated financial data, liability for stolen assets or information, increased costs arising from the implementation of additional security protective measures, litigation and reputational damage. Any remedial costs or other liabilities related to cyber security incidents may not be fully insured or indemnified by other means.

THE FOREGOING FACTORS, INDIVIDUALLY OR IN AGGREGATE, COULD MATERIALLY ADVERSELY AFFECT OUR OPERATING RESULTS AND CASH FLOWS AND FINANCIAL CONDITION AND COULD MAKE COMPARISON OF HISTORICAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS, INCLUDING RESULTS OF OPERATIONS AND CASH FLOWS AND BALANCES, DIFFICULT OR NOT MEANINGFUL.


ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

We lease office space in Carson City, Nevada, where our principal executive office is located, and office space in La Jolla, California, that is vacant and which we are seeking to sublet. We continually evaluate our current and future space capacity in relation to our business needs. We believe that our existing office space is adequate to meet our current business requirements and that suitable replacement and additional space will be available in the future on commercially reasonable terms, should we need it.

We have significant holdings of real estate and water assets in the southwestern United States as described in“Item 1 - Business.”

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

Neither we nor our subsidiaries are parties to any potentially material pending legal proceedings.

We are subject to various litigation matters that arise in the ordinary course of our business. Based upon information presently available, management is of the opinion that resolution of such litigation will not likely have a material effect on our consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows. Because litigation is inherently unpredictable and unfavorable resolutions could occur, assessing contingencies is highly subjective and requires judgments about future events. When evaluating contingencies, we may be unable to provide a meaningful estimate due to a number of factors, including the procedural status of the matter in question, the presence of complex or novel legal theories, and/or the ongoing discovery and development of information important to the matters. In addition, damage amounts claimed in litigation against us may be unsupported, exaggerated or unrelated to possible outcomes, and as such are not meaningful indicators of our potential liability. We regularly review contingencies to determine the adequacy of our accruals and related disclosures. The amount of ultimate loss may differ from these estimates, and it is possible that cash flows or results of operations could be materially affected in any particular period by the unfavorable resolution of one or more of these contingencies. Whether any losses finally determined in any claim, action, investigation or proceeding could reasonably have a material effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows will depend on a number of variables, including: the timing and amount of such losses; the structure and type of any remedies; the significance of the impact any such losses, damages or remedies may have on our consolidated financial statements; and the unique facts and circumstances of the particular matter that may give rise to additional factors.

ITEM 4.  MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.


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PART II

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Our common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “PICO.” The following table sets out the quarterly high and low sales prices for the past two years as reported on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. These reported prices reflect inter-dealer prices, without adjustments for retail markups, markdowns, or commissions.
 
2018
 
2017
 
High
 
Low
 
High
 
Low
First Quarter
$
13.40

 
$
10.60

 
$
15.74

 
$
13.05

Second Quarter
$
12.85

 
$
10.38

 
$
17.95

 
$
13.35

Third Quarter
$
12.70

 
$
11.35

 
$
17.60

 
$
16.05

Fourth Quarter(1)
$
12.63

 
$
8.85

 
$
20.20

 
$
12.30


(1)The lowest stock price during the fourth quarter of 2017 reflected the $5.00 per share special dividend paid to our shareholders on November 21, 2017, while prior period prices have not been adjusted to reflect the special dividend.

Any future decision to pay dividends on our common stock will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon, among other factors, our ability to monetize assets, our results of operations, financial condition, capital requirements, and other factors our board of directors may deem relevant.

On February 28, 2019, the closing sale price of our common stock was $10.28 and there were approximately 320 holders of record.

ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Period
 
Total number of shares of common stock purchased
 
Average price paid per share of common stock
(including commissions)
 
Total number of shares of common stock repurchased as part of publicly announced plans or programs
 
Maximum dollar value of shares of common stock that may yet be repurchased under the plans or programs (in thousands) (1)
10/1/2018 - 10/31/18
 
313,329

 
$
11.53

 
2,076,457

 
$
25,807

11/1/2018 - 11/30/18
 
154,496

 
$
10.17

 
2,230,953

 
$
24,236

12/1/2018 - 12/31/18
 
271,544

 
$
9.58

 
2,502,497

 
$
21,634

Total
 
739,369

 
 
 
 
 
 

(1) The stock repurchase program was announced on March 2, 2017. Our Board of Directors authorized up to $50 million to be used under this program and there is no set expiration date.

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ITEM 7.  MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

INTRODUCTION

The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (“MD&A”) is intended to help the reader understand our Company. The MD&A should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes, presented later in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The MD&A includes the following sections:

Company Summary, Recent Developments, and Future Outlook — a brief description of our operations, the critical factors affecting them, and their future prospects;
Critical Accounting Policies, Estimates, and Judgments — a discussion of accounting policies which require critical judgments and estimates. Our significant accounting policies, including the critical accounting policies discussed in this section, are summarized in the notes to the consolidated financial statements;
Results of Operations — an analysis of our consolidated results of operations for the past three years, presented in our consolidated financial statements; and
Liquidity and Capital Resources — an analysis of cash flows, sources and uses of cash, contractual obligations and a discussion of factors affecting our future cash flow.

COMPANY SUMMARY, RECENT DEVELOPMENTS, AND FUTURE OUTLOOK

Recent Developments:

Northern Nevada

The majority of our water resource assets is located in northern Nevada at FSR and our Carson / Lyon project. FSR’s water credits are able to provide a sustainable water supply in the North Valleys region of Reno, Washoe County, Nevada and the Carson / Lyon water rights are able to provide a sustainable water supply in Lyon County, Nevada. As a result, we are dependent on new residential or commercial development occurring in these regions in order for us to monetize our water resources in northern Nevada. In turn, new development in these regions is highly dependent on the continued robust economic and job growth that is occurring in northern Nevada.

The economic development in the greater Reno region has been concentrated in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center business park (“TRIC”) which is a 107,000 acre industrial park proximate to Interstate 80 and 15 miles east of Reno, Nevada. Tesla Motors, Inc. (“Tesla”) built its Gigafactory facility in this business park with initial estimates that 6,500 jobs would be created by the Gigafactory project. Currently, the forecast is that more than 10,000 jobs will be created by the project. Many other technology companies have also moved to the area including Apple, Google, Jet.com, Battery Systems Inc., Tire Rack, U.S. Ordinance, Zulily, Switch and Blockchains LLC.

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (“EDAWN”), comprised of Reno, Sparks, and Tahoe areas, estimated that the region would generate 52,400 direct and indirect jobs from 2015 to 2020. As of the most recent tracking data provided by EDAWN in November 2018, the actual job growth continues to be ahead of this forecast with 58,401 new jobs created since December 2014; a total increase of 16.5% as compared to the forecasted total job growth in that period of 15.1%. EDAWN has released a further update (RCG Economics, Technical Memorandum dated January 29, 2019) to their previous forecast that include the latest historical data and a new five-year forecast from 2019 through 2023. This five - year forecast projects a cumulative addition of 51,585 new jobs in the region which represents a 12.7% increase in employment. This job growth leads to population growth. The report also projects the region’s population to grow to 686,787 residents by the end of 2023, an increase of 54,470 residents (8.6%) in that five-year period. We believe that this increased employment and population growth will create demand for new residential, commercial and industrial development in the greater Reno area and in Lyon County.


18



Current economic conditions have manifested into new business openings, fewer apartment vacancies and the greater absorption of existing housing inventory. This activity has resulted in multiple new housing projects entering the approval process with local governments in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Lyon County and Fernley. Residential housing projects have to demonstrate sustainable water supply to get final map approval and many projects in the North Valleys of Nevada are currently in the process or have obtained master plan amendment / zone change approvals. The next step for these developers is to obtain tentative map and then final map approvals. Within the Reno-Sparks and Washoe County area of Nevada, according to EDAWN, in 2018 there were 4,595 new housing permits pulled for 2018. EDAWN’s goal is for at least 6,000 new housing permits to meet the projected demand for housing. In 2018, total new permits in Reno / Sparks / Washoe County decreased approximately 10% over the total number of new building permits for single-family and multi-family homes combined of 5,120 in 2017, but increased approximately 28% over 3,595 of new building permits for all of 2016. We believe the reduction in the issuance of building permits is due to a lag between subdivision approvals such as Zone Change/Master Plan Amendments and Tentative Maps and actual building permits. We expect the building permit activity to increase in 2019 once the permit process is initiated on newly approved subdivisions. We believe this increase in activity will lead to demand for our water resources as developers pursue their projects to provide housing for the population growth in the region. However, the increased activity has strained governmental agencies and has caused delays in processing permits as well as new projects’ planning approval process. The timing of future monetization of our water resources in northern Nevada is directly correlated to the timing that residential developers pursue their projects in the areas that our FSR and Carson / Lyon assets are located and the time it takes for those developers to get the requisite planning approvals prior to obtaining final map or, in the case of commercial development projects, final regulatory approvals.

Arizona

Several market catalysts with respect to our LTSCs continue to emerge including the recent drought in the western United States, continued structural deficits on the Colorado River system, Indian Firming and Settlement obligations by the state of Arizona, increased water demand from overall growth in Arizona and the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Planning effort by Arizona. There is continued interest from other parties contemplating buying our LTSCs at prices that we believe reflect the true value of our LTSCs.

Arizona has an obligation to “firm” Indian water supplies as negotiated through various Indian Water Settlement Agreements. Section 105 of the Settlements Act (S. 437) titled “Firming of Central Arizona Project Indian Water,” authorizes the Secretary of Interior and the State of Arizona to develop a firming program to ensure that of the total 197,500 acre-feet of non-indian agricultural water reallocated to the Arizona Indian Tribes, 60,648 acre-feet must be delivered in the same manner as water with a municipal and industrial priority during water shortages, over a 100 year period. It is estimated that over the 100 year period, the total shortfall of the Indian Firming obligation is approximately 550,000 acre-feet. To date approximately 140,000 acre-feet has been secured by Arizona for the firming obligations shortfall. The US Bureau of Reclamation also has an Indian firming obligation for existing and future Arizona Indian settlements of approximately 950,000 acre-feet. We believe our LTSCs can be used to help Arizona and the US Bureau of Reclamation meet these obligation.

A shortage on the Colorado River system will be declared by the Secretary of the Interior when on January 1, of any year, Lake Mead’s surface water elevation is at or below 1,075 ft. When Lake Mead is at an elevation of 1,075 ft. and at or above 1050 ft., Nevada’s share of the shortage is 13,000 acre-feet and Arizona’s cut-back to its allocation is 320,000 acre-feet. In contrast, California suffers no loss to their allocation from the Colorado River (2007 Shortage Sharing Guidelines). Because of the continued drought on the Colorado River system, over the past 16 years, a new plan has been developed, the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan, known as DCP. This plan, as currently devised, provides for additional water supplies to be held behind Hoover Dam in Lake Mead requiring a reduction in the volume of water from Arizona, Nevada, and California’s apportionments. This collective effort is to stave off a drought declaration and/or to reduce its impacts to the Lower Basin States of which the most affected would be Arizona by over 1,000,000 acre-feet through 2026. To date, the states have not yet agreed on a final DCP and, in the absence of an agreement ultimately being reached, it is possible that the Secretary of the Interior will determine the shortage contribution of each state.

The Colorado River system has been determined to suffer from a structural deficit of 1.2 million acre-feet annually. This means that on an average annual water year, Lake Mead will lose 1.2 million acre-feet to the system, due to evaporation, treaty obligations with Mexico and allocations of water to Arizona, Nevada and California that exceeds what the system yields. We continue to believe that Vidler’s LTSCs are well positioned to buffer Arizona through times of water shortage and our LTSCs could be purchased by state entities and/or municipalities located in the Phoenix AMA to be used directly or to help sustain levels in Lake Mead.


19



Discontinued Real Estate Operations and Assets and Liabilities Held-for-Sale

On April 10, 2017, our then majority owned subsidiary, UCP, Inc. (“UCP”), entered into a merger agreement with Century Communities, Inc. (“Century”) whereby each outstanding share of UCP common stock outstanding was converted into $5.32 in cash and 0.2309 of a newly issued share of Century common stock. The merger transaction closed on August 4, 2017 and consequently, we deconsolidated UCP as of the closing date. The assets and liabilities of UCP qualified as held-for-sale and its results of operations have been classified as discontinued operations as of the earliest period presented.

See Note 11,“Discontinued Operations” for additional information about these transactions.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES, ESTIMATES, AND JUDGEMENTS

This section describes the most important accounting policies affecting our assets and liabilities, and the results of our operations. Since the estimates, assumptions, and judgments involved in the accounting policies described below have the greatest potential impact on our financial statements, we consider these to be our critical accounting policies:

how we determine the fair value and carrying value of our tangible and intangible water assets, and real estate;
how and when we recognize revenue when we sell water assets and real estate; and
how we determine our income tax provision, deferred tax assets and liabilities, and reserves for unrecognized tax benefits, as well as the need for valuation allowances on our deferred tax assets.

We believe that an understanding of these accounting policies will help the reader to analyze and interpret our financial statements.

Our consolidated financial statements, and the accompanying notes, are prepared in accordance with GAAP, which requires us to make estimates, using available data and our judgment, for things such as valuing assets, accruing liabilities, recognizing revenues, and estimating expenses. Due to the uncertainty inherent in these matters, actual results could differ from the estimates we use in applying the critical accounting policies. We base our estimates on historical experience, and various other assumptions, which we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances.

The following are the significant subjective estimates used in preparing our financial statements:

1. Fair value and carrying value of our tangible and intangible water assets and real estate

Our primary long-lived assets include tangible and intangible water assets and real estate. At December 31, 2018, the total carrying value of such assets was $166.2 million, or approximately 92% of our total assets. These assets are carried at cost, less any recorded impairments.

Tangible water assets and real estate

We review our long-lived tangible water assets and real estate as facts and circumstances change, or if there are indications of impairment present, to ensure that the estimated undiscounted future cash flows, excluding interest charges, from the use and eventual disposition of these assets will at least recover their carrying value. Cash flow forecasts are prepared for each discrete asset. We engage in a rigorous process to prepare and review the cash flow models which utilize the most recent information available to us. However, the process inevitably involves the use of significant estimates and assumptions, especially the estimated current and future demand for these assets, the estimated future market values of our assets, the timing of the disposition of these assets, the ongoing cost of maintenance and improvement of the assets, and the current and projected income earned and other uncertain future events. As a result, our estimates are likely to change from period to period. In addition, our estimates may change as unanticipated events transpire which would cause us to reconsider the current and future use of the assets.If we use different assumptions, if our plans change, or if the conditions in future periods differ from our forecasts, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially impacted.

There were no material impairment losses recorded on our tangible water assets or real estate during the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017.


20



Intangible water assets

Our intangible water assets are accounted for as indefinite-lived intangible assets. Accordingly, until the asset is sold, they are not amortized, that is, their value is not charged as an expense in our consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive income or loss over time, but the assets are carried at cost and reviewed for impairment, at least annually during the fourth quarter, and more frequently if a specific event occurs or there are changes in circumstances which suggest that the asset may be impaired. Such events or changes may include lawsuits, court decisions, regulatory mandates, and economic conditions, including interest rates, demand for residential and commercial real estate, changes in population, and increases or decreases in prices of similar assets. Once the assets are sold, the value is charged to cost of real estate and water assets sold in our consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive income or loss.

When we calculate the fair value of intangible water assets, we use a discounted cash flow model, under which the future net cash flows from the asset are forecasted and then discounted back to their present value using a weighted average cost of capital approach to determining the appropriate discount rate. Preparing these cash flow models requires us to make significant assumptions about revenues and expenses as well as the specific risks inherent in the assets. If the carrying value exceeds the fair value, an impairment loss is recognized equal to the difference. We conduct extensive reviews utilizing the most recent information available to us; however, the review process inevitably involves the use of significant estimates and assumptions, especially the estimated current asset pricing, potential price escalation, income tax rates, discount rates, absorption rates and timing, and demand for these assets. These models are sensitive to minor changes in any of the input variables.

In summary, the cash flow models for our most significant indefinite-lived intangible assets forecast initial sales to begin within approximately one year, and then increase until the assets are mostly sold over the next four decades. We have assumed sale proceeds for the assets that are based on our estimates of the likely future sales price per acre-foot. These per-unit sale prices are estimated based on the demand and supply fundamentals in the markets which these assets serve. If we use different assumptions, if our plans change, or if the conditions in future periods differ from our forecasts, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially impacted.

There were no material impairment losses recorded on our intangible water assets during the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017.

2. Revenue recognition

Sale of real estate and water assets

We recognize revenue when there is a legally binding sale contract, the profit is determinable (the collectability of the sales price is reasonably assured, or any amount that will not be collectible can be estimated), the earnings process is virtually complete (we are not obliged to perform significant activities after the sale to earn the profit, meaning we have transferred all risks and rewards to the buyer), and the buyer’s initial and continuing investment are adequate to demonstrate a commitment to pay for the property.

Unless all of these conditions are met, we use the deposit method of accounting. Under the deposit method of accounting, until the conditions to fully recognize a sale are met, payments received from the buyer are recorded as a liability on our balance sheet, and no gain is recognized.

3. Income taxes

Our income tax expense, deferred tax assets and liabilities, and reserves for unrecognized tax benefits reflect our best assessment of estimated future taxes to be paid. We are subject to federal and various state income taxes. We have multiple state filing groups with different income tax generating abilities. Significant judgments and estimates are required in determining the consolidated income tax expense.


21



Deferred income taxes arise from temporary differences between the tax and financial statement recognition of revenue and expense. In evaluating our ability to recover our deferred tax assets within the jurisdiction from which they arise we consider all available positive and negative evidence, including scheduled reversals of deferred tax liabilities, tax planning strategies and recent financial operating results. We consider many factors when assessing the likelihood of future realization of our deferred tax assets, including recent cumulative earnings experience by taxing jurisdiction, expectations of future transactions, the carryforward periods available to us for tax reporting purposes, our historical use of tax attributes, and availability of tax planning strategies. These assumptions require significant judgment about future events; however, they are consistent with the plans and estimates we use to manage our underlying businesses. In evaluating the objective evidence that historical results provide, we consider three years of cumulative operating income or loss.

As a result of the analysis of all available evidence as of December 31, 2011, we recorded a full valuation allowance on our net deferred tax assets. Our evaluation at December 31, 2018 resulted in the same conclusion and we therefore continue to hold a full valuation allowance on our reported consolidated net deferred tax assets. If our assumptions change and we determine we will be able to realize these attributes, the tax benefits relating to any reversal of the valuation allowance on deferred tax assets at December 31, 2018 will be recognized as a reduction of income tax expense. If our assumptions do not change, each year we could record an additional valuation allowance on any increases in the deferred tax assets.

The calculation of our tax liabilities involves dealing with uncertainties in the application of complex tax laws and regulations in a multitude of jurisdictions. Changes in tax laws and rates could also affect recorded deferred tax assets and liabilities in the future. As a result of changes in tax law and rates that became effective for tax years starting on January 1, 2018 (the “Tax Act”), we revalued our deferred tax assets and liabilities using a 21% tax rate for our federal deferred income tax balances. In December 2017, the SEC staff issued Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118, Income Tax Accounting Implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (SAB 118), which allowed us to record provisional amounts during a measurement period not to extend beyond one year of the enactment date. As a result, we previously recorded a provisional estimate of the effect of the Tax Act in our financial statements. The resulting decrease in our net deferred tax asset was offset by a reduction in our recorded valuation allowance which resulted in no net effect on our results of operations, cash flows or financial position. In the fourth quarter of 2018, we completed our analysis to determine the effect of the change in tax law and recorded immaterial adjustments as of December 22, 2018.

The accounting guidance for income taxes provides that a tax benefit from an uncertain tax position may be recognized when it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained upon examination, including resolutions of any related appeals or litigation processes, based on the technical merits. The guidance also provides information on measurement, de-recognition, classification, interest and penalties, accounting in interim periods, disclosure and transition.

We recognize tax liabilities in accordance with accounting guidance on income taxes and we adjust these liabilities when our judgment changes as a result of the evaluation of new information not previously available. Due to the complexity of some of these uncertainties, the ultimate resolution may result in a payment that is materially different from our current estimate of the tax liabilities. These differences will be reflected as increases or decreases to income tax expense in the period in which they are determined. Currently, we have no material unrecognized tax benefits on any open tax years.

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS -- YEARS ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2018 AND 2017

Overview of Economic Conditions and Impact on Results of Operations

The economies in the markets in which our major water assets are located and serve, primarily northern Nevada and Arizona, are exhibiting robust growth which we believe will lead to demand for our water assets in those markets. We believe that current trends in employment, housing inventory, home prices, and low interest rates, will have a positive impact on our operating performance. There has been an increase in real estate development activity in the markets where our assets will ultimately be used, and we believe that will lead to increased demand for our intangible and tangible water assets. Individual markets continue to experience varying results, as local home inventories, affordability, and employment factors strongly influence each local market. Deterioration in economic conditions in the markets where we operate, and/or if we fail to generate revenue, incur expenses beyond expectations, or incur operating losses, could cause additional impairment losses on our water assets.

Our revenues and results of operations fluctuate from period to period. For example, we recognize revenue from the sale of water assets when specific transactions close, and as a result, sales of water assets for any individual period are not necessarily indicative of revenues for future periods or the full financial year.


22



PICO Holdings, Inc. Shareholders’ Equity (in thousands):
 
December 31,
 
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
Change
Shareholders’ equity
$
176,624

 
$
207,163

 
$
(30,539
)
Shareholders’ equity per share
$
8.52

 
$
8.95

 
$
(0.43
)

The primary decrease in shareholders’ equity during 2018 was due to the purchase of 2.5 million shares of our common stock for $27.6 million.

Total Assets and Liabilities (in thousands):
 
December 31,
 
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
Change
Total assets
$
180,211

 
$
214,402

 
$
(34,191
)
Total liabilities
$
3,587

 
$
7,239

 
$
(3,652
)

Total assets and liabilities decreased during the year ended December 31, 2018, primarily due to the use of $27.6 million in cash for the purchase our common stock, the distribution of deferred compensation assets and the related reduction of deferred compensation liabilities, and sales of our intangible water assets.

Results of Operations (in thousands):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
Change
Total revenue and other income (loss)
$
13,051

 
$
36,276

 
$
(23,225
)
Total costs and expenses
$
16,370

 
$
25,935

 
$
(9,565
)

Revenue and other income (loss)

The majority of our revenue recorded for the year ended December 31, 2018 was from the sale of approximately 511 acre-feet of water rights from our Carson/Lyon project for $10.3 million and the sale of 76.9 acre-feet of water rights from our Fish Springs Ranch project for $2.7 million.

The majority of our revenue recorded for the year ended December 31, 2017 was from the sale of 102,500 long-term storage credits for $25.9 million. We also reported realized gains on the sale of investments of $8.8 million recognized on the sale of investments from our deferred compensation accounts in conjunction with the distribution of such assets to our former CEO.

Costs and Expenses

Cost of water assets and real estate sold:

During the year ended December 31, 2018 we recorded a total of $5.2 million in cost of real estate and water assets, of which $4.9 million relates to sales of approximately 622 acre-feet of water rights. During the year ended December 31, 2017 we recorded $12.8 million in the cost of real estate and water assets sold related to our sale of 102,500 water credits.

General, Administrative and Other:

During the year ended December 31, 2018 we continued implementing cost saving measures primarily intended to realign our organizational structure due to the changes in roles and workforce. During the year ended December 31, 2018 and 2017 we recorded general and administrative costs of $11 million and $12.4 million, respectively. The decrease in general and administrative costs was primarily due to a year over year decrease of $1.3 million in compensation and bonus expenses and $690,000 in legal expenses. During 2018, we continued to reduce headcount and transitioned to the new corporate office in Carson City, Nevada.


23



During the year ended December 31, 2018, we recorded an impairment loss of $1.3 million to write down the value of an investment in an unconsolidated affiliate to zero. This impairment loss is recorded within impairment loss on investment in unconsolidated affiliate in the consolidated financial statements. Additionally, we wrote off $1 million in notes and interest receivable from the same unconsolidated affiliate, which is recorded within general, administrative, and other in the consolidated financial statements.

Stock-Based Compensation Expense

Stock-based compensation expense is calculated based on the fair value of the award on the grant date and is recognized over the vesting period of the awards. As of December 31, 2018, there was no unrecognized stock-based compensation expense related to restricted stock units (“RSU”) or performance-based price-contingent stock options (“PBO”).

The stock-based compensation expense consisted primarily of the following awards (in thousands):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
PBO - Officers
$

 
$
427

RSU - Officers
199

 
204

RSU - Directors
223

 
613

RSU - Management
3

 
50

Total stock-based compensation expense
$
425

 
$
1,294


Income Taxes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Tax Act”) enacted on December 22, 2017, resulted in significant changes to the U.S. corporate income tax system. The changes were effective beginning in 2018 and include a federal statutory rate reduction from 35% to 21%, the elimination or reduction of certain domestic deductions and credits and limitations on the deductibility of interest expense and executive compensation as well as limitations on the use of future net operating losses. Changes in tax rates and tax laws are accounted for in the period of enactment and consequently during the year ended December 31, 2017, we recorded a reduction in our net deferred tax asset to reduce the value of each deferred tax attribute to 21% which was offset by a reduction in the recorded valuation allowance resulting in no net effect to the current period income tax provision. In the fourth quarter of 2018, we completed our analysis to determine the effect of the Tax Act and recorded immaterial adjustments as of December 22, 2018. We continued to record a full valuation allowance on our net deferred tax assets. However, we recorded tax expense of $53,000 and $3.1 million during the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively resulting in an effective tax rate for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017 of 1.6% and 29.8%, respectively. The effective tax rate differed from our federal corporate income tax rate of 21% due primarily to the valuation allowance changes recorded on our net deferred tax assets in 2018 and in 2017, we recorded tax expense due to recognizing realized gains on the sale of certain investments that were included in unrealized gains reported in other comprehensive income in previous periods.

DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS

During the year ended December 31, 2017, results from discontinued operations included income or loss from UCP’s operations and the loss recorded on the sale of such operations.

Real Estate:

On April 10, 2017, UCP entered into a merger agreement with Century whereby each outstanding share of UCP common stock was converted into $5.32 in cash and 0.2309 of a newly issued share of Century common stock. The transaction closed on August 4, 2017 and we received $55.3 million in cash and approximately 9% of the then outstanding common stock of Century. The transaction resulted in a loss on sale of $8.7 million, which was recorded during the year ended December 31, 2017. In October 2017, we sold our entire position of Century common stock for $59.2 million and realized a loss on the sale of $842,000.


24



Agribusiness:

In February 2017, we received the final $6 million that had been held in escrow for general indemnification claims related to the sale of our discontinued agribusiness operations. We guaranteed up to $8 million for any environmental indemnification claims in excess of the $6 million general indemnification escrow pursuant to the terms of the sale. This guaranty will remain in force until July 31, 2020. The guaranty has been recorded at estimated fair value that reflects our expectation that no significant amounts will be paid out under the guaranty. However, any amounts paid by us under the guaranty in excess of this estimate will result in additional loss on the sale.

See Note 11,“Discontinued Operations” for additional information about these transactions.

LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES -- YEARS ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2018 and 2017

A substantial portion of our historical revenue and cash flow has, and is expected in the future, to come from one-time sales of our assets which are primarily long-term water resource development projects that we expect to support economic growth in the local markets where the assets are located. The timing and amount of sales and cash flows depend on a number of factors which are difficult to predict, and cannot be directly compared from one period to another. However, given our cash balances at December 31, 2018, we currently believe that we have sufficient resources to cover our expenses for at least the next 12 months. In the long-term, we estimate that cash from operations will provide us with adequate funding for future operations. However, if additional funding is needed we could defer significant expenditures, obtain a line of credit, or complete a debt or equity offering. Any additional equity offerings may be dilutive to our shareholders and any additional debt offerings may include operating covenants that could restrict our business. We are currently not subject to any debt covenants which might limit our ability to obtain additional financing through debt or equity offerings. We classify the sale of and costs incurred to acquire and develop our water assets as operating activities in our consolidated statement of cash flows.

Our Operations

The majority of our cash inflows for the year ended December 31, 2018 was from $13.6 million in sales of various real estate and water rights assets. This was offset by $10.8 million of cash used for overhead and various project expenses. Additionally, we used $27.6 million in cash to repurchase shares of our common stock during the year ended December 31, 2018.

On October 26, 2017 our board of directors declared a special dividend of $5.00 per share, amounting to approximately $115.9 million. The record date was November 6, 2017, payment was made on November 20, 2017 and the ex-dividend date was November 21, 2017. The entire cash distribution was classified as a return of capital for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Generally, such a cash distribution would reduce the tax basis of a shareholder’s common shares; however, if such a distribution is in excess of a shareholder’s tax basis, a portion of the distribution may be treated as a capital gain under current tax law.

The majority of our revenue recorded for the year ended December 31, 2017 was from the sale of 102,500 long-term storage credits for $25.9 million. We also reported realized gains on the sale of investments of $8.8 million recognized on the sale of investments from our deferred compensation accounts in conjunction with the distribution of $23.3 million of such assets to our former CEO. We also paid our former CEO $10.4 million in severance benefits, settled certain stock-based compensation, and paid other related severance expenses. See Note 10, “Related-Party Transactions” for additional information.

Discontinued Operations

During 2017 we sold our real estate operations and during 2015 we sold our agribusiness operations.

We guaranteed up to $8 million for any indemnification claims related to the agribusiness operations in excess of a $6 million general indemnification escrow pursuant to the terms of a guaranty agreement with the buyer that will remain in force until July 31, 2020.

Consolidated Cash and Securities

We have adequate working capital reserves and generally hold our cash in money market funds. At December 31, 2018 and 2017, we had unrestricted and available cash and securities of $12.6 million and $34.9 million, respectively, which could be used for general corporate purposes.


25



Cash Flow

Our cash flows from operating, investing, and financing activities were as follows (in thousands):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
Cash provided by (used in):
 
 
 
Operating activities - continuing operations
$
3,349

 
$
(345
)
Operating activities - discontinued operations
(313
)
 
(9,728
)
Total operating activities
3,036

 
(10,073
)
 
 
 
 
Investing activities - continuing operations
62

 
67,908

Investing activities - discontinued operations

 
47,173

Total investing activities
62

 
115,081

 
 
 
 
Financing activities - continuing operations
(27,676
)
 
(117,222
)
Financing activities - discontinued operations

 
(11,638
)
Total financing activities
$
(27,676
)
 
$
(128,860
)
Decrease in cash and cash equivalents
$
(24,578
)
 
$
(23,852
)

Cash Flows From Operating Activities

During 2018, we generated cash of $3.3 million in our continuing operations. This was primarily derived from $13.6 million in cash receipts from sales of various real estate and water rights assets, which was offset by approximately $10.8 million of cash used for overhead and various project expenses.

During 2017, we used cash of $345,000 in our continuing operations which was derived primarily from the $26.3 million sale of long term storage credits, offset by cash used of $12.2 million for general and administrative expenses and various project costs and $18.3 million for payment of severance benefits and deferred compensation payment of cash related to the termination of our former CEO. Through the closing date of the UCP merger, our discontinued operations used cash of $9.7 million primarily generated from $246 million in sales of residential real estate and lots offset by cash of $216.9 million used for the acquisition and development of real estate, and $37 million for overhead.

Cash Flows From Investing Activities

We had no material cash flows from investing activities during the year ended December 31, 2018.

Our continuing investing activities provided $67.9 million of cash during 2017 primarily from the $59.2 million in cash we received when we sold our investment in Century common stock, and approximately $8.2 million in cash from the sale of various other debt and equity investments out of our deferred compensation plans. During the year we purchased $270 million of U.S. Treasuries, which was offset by related sales and maturities of $198 million and $140 million, respectively. Our discontinued operations generated $47.2 million of net cash during 2017 which was comprised of the $55.3 million received on the sale of UCP less UCP’s cash balance as of the date of the sale, and $6 million in cash received from the escrow account for general indemnification claims related to the sale of our discontinued agribusiness operations.

Cash Flows From Financing Activities

During the year ended December 30, 2018, we used $27.6 million in cash to repurchase shares of our common stock. We had no other significant financing activities during the year.

During 2017, we paid a special dividend of $115.9 million. Our discontinued operations received cash of $86.7 million during 2017 provided from draws on its debt arrangements, which was used primarily to fund the acquisition and development of various real estate projects offset by payments of $96.5 million which was used to repay debt when certain real estate properties were sold.


26



Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

As of December 31, 2018, we had no off-balance sheet arrangements, other than those discussed throughout this document, that have, or are reasonably likely to have, a material current or future effect on our consolidated financial condition, revenues or expenses, results of operations, liquidity, capital expenditures, or capital resources.

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

Our financial statements as of December 31, 2018 and 2017 and for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2018, and the Report of the Registered Independent Public Accounting Firm are included in this report as listed in the index.

SELECTED QUARTERLY FINANCIAL DATA

Summarized unaudited quarterly financial data (in thousands, except per share amounts) for 2018 and 2017 are shown below. In management’s opinion, the interim financial statements from which the following data has been derived contain all adjustments necessary for a fair presentation of results for such interim periods and are of a normal recurring nature.
 
Three Months Ended
 
March 31, 2018
 
June 30, 2018
 
September 30, 2018
 
December 31, 2018
Sale of real estate and water assets
$
247

 
$
10,480

 
$
230

 
$
2,680

Impairment loss on investment in unconsolidated affiliate

 

 
(1,312
)
 

Other
97

 
132

 
388

 
109

Total revenue and other income (loss)
$
344

 
$
10,612

 
$
(694
)
 
$
2,789

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gross profit - real estate and water assets
$
28

 
$
6,339

 
$
132

 
$
1,892

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Income (loss) from continuing operations
$
(2,862
)
 
$
4,259

 
$
(4,669
)
 
$
(100
)
Net income from discontinued operations, net of tax
$

 
$
43

 
$

 
$

Net income (loss) attributable to PICO Holdings, Inc.
$
(2,862
)
 
$
4,302

 
$
(4,669
)
 
$
(100
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (loss) per common share – basic and diluted:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Income (loss) from continuing operations
$
(0.12
)
 
$
0.19

 
$
(0.21
)
 
$
(0.01
)


27



 
Three Months Ended
 
March 31, 2017
 
June 30, 2017
 
September 30, 2017
 
December 31, 2017(1)
Sale of real estate and water assets
$
25,097

 
$
43

 
$
136

 
$
1,112

Impairment loss on investment in unconsolidated affiliate

 

 

 

Other
1,096

 
8,591

 
69

 
132

Total revenue and other income
$
26,193

 
$
8,634

 
$
205

 
$
1,244

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gross profit - real estate and water assets
$
12,565

 
$
26

 
$
81

 
$
500

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Income (loss) from continuing operations
$
9,293

 
$
2,803

 
$
(3,109
)
 
$
(1,728
)
Net income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax
$
(3,259
)
 
$
177

 
$
(3,175
)
 
$
612

Net income (loss)
$
6,034

 
$
2,980

 
$
(6,284
)
 
$
(1,116
)
Net income (loss) attributable to PICO Holdings, Inc.
$
4,643

 
$
1,575

 
$
(4,639
)
 
$
(1,116
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (loss) per common share – basic and diluted:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Income (loss) from continuing operations
$
0.40

 
$
0.12

 
$
(0.13
)
 
$
(0.07
)
Income (loss) from discontinued operations
$
(0.20
)
 
$
(0.05
)
 
$
(0.07
)
 
$
0.03


(1) During 2017, we sold our real estate segment. As a result of the transaction, the assets and liabilities of our real estate operations qualified as held-for-sale and have been classified as discontinued operations in the accompanying consolidated financial statements as of the earliest period presented. See Note 11, “Discontinued Operations,” in the accompanying consolidated financial statements for additional information.

28



PICO HOLDINGS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2018 AND 2017
AND FOR EACH OF THE
TWO YEARS IN THE PERIOD
ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2018

INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS


29



REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

To the Board of Directors and Stockholders of
PICO Holdings, Inc.
Carson City, Nevada

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of PICO Holdings, Inc. and subsidiaries (the "Company") as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, the related consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income or loss, shareholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2018, and the related notes to the financial statements (collectively referred to as the "financial statements"). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2018, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

We have also audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2018, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission and our report dated March 14, 2019, expressed an unqualified opinion on the Company's internal control over financial reporting.

Basis for Opinion

These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company's financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.


/s/ DELOITTE & TOUCHE LLP

San Diego, California
March 14, 2019

We have served as the Company’s auditors since 1997.

30



PICO HOLDINGS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
December 31, 2018 and 2017
(In thousands)
 
2018
 
2017
Assets
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
12,550

 
$
37,128

Investments ($1,902 measured at fair value at December 31, 2017)

 
3,214

Tangible water assets and real estate, net
44,298

 
44,675

Intangible assets
121,917

 
126,785

Other assets
1,446

 
2,600

Total assets
$
180,211

 
$
214,402

 
 
 
 
Liabilities and shareholders’ equity
 
 
 
Deferred compensation
$

 
$
4,112

Other liabilities
3,448

 
2,431

Accounts payable and accrued expenses
139

 
696

Total liabilities
3,587

 
7,239

 
 
 
 
Commitments and contingencies

 

 
 
 
 
Preferred stock, $0.001 par value; authorized 10,000 shares, none issued


 


Common stock, $0.001 par value; authorized 100,000 shares, 20,848 issued and 20,726 outstanding at December 31, 2018, and 23,153 issued and 23,152 outstanding at December 31, 2017
21

 
23

Additional paid-in capital
353,250

 
379,388

Accumulated deficit
(175,536
)
 
(172,767
)
Accumulated other comprehensive income

 
544

Treasury stock, at cost (common shares: 121 and 1 at December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017, respectively)
(1,111
)
 
(25
)
Total PICO Holdings, Inc. shareholders’ equity
176,624

 
207,163

Total liabilities and equity
$
180,211

 
$
214,402


The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.


31



PICO HOLDINGS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS AND COMPREHENSIVE INCOME OR LOSS
For the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017
(In thousands, except per share data)
 
2018
 
2017
Revenues and other income:
 
 
 
Sale of real estate and water assets
$
13,637


$
26,388

Impairment loss on investment in unconsolidated affiliate
(1,312
)


Other income, net
726


9,888

Total revenues and other income
13,051


36,276

 


 
Cost of sales and expenses:


 
Cost of water assets and real estate sold
5,246


13,216

General, administrative, and other
11,048


12,414

Depreciation and amortization
76


305

Total costs and expenses
16,370


25,935

Income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes
(3,319
)

10,341

Provision for federal and state income taxes
(53
)

(3,082
)
Income (loss) from continuing operations
(3,372
)

7,259

Income from discontinued operations, net of tax


3,053

Income (loss) on sale of discontinued operations, net of tax
43


(8,698
)
Net income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax
43


(5,645
)
Net income (loss)
(3,329
)

1,614

Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests


(1,150
)
Net income (loss) attributable to PICO Holdings, Inc.
$
(3,329
)

$
464


The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.

32



PICO HOLDINGS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS AND COMPREHENSIVE INCOME OR LOSS, CONTINUED
(In thousands, except per share data)
 
2018
 
2017
Other comprehensive loss:
 
 
 
Net income (loss)
$
(3,329
)

$
1,614

Other comprehensive loss, net of tax:
 
 
 
Unrealized loss on securities, net of deferred income tax and reclassification adjustments
(544
)

(6,193
)
Foreign currency translation


76

Total other comprehensive loss, net of tax
(544
)

(6,117
)
Comprehensive loss
(3,873
)

(4,503
)
Comprehensive income attributable to noncontrolling interests


(1,150
)
Comprehensive loss attributable to PICO Holdings, Inc.
$
(3,873
)

$
(5,653
)
 



 
Net income (loss) per common share – basic and diluted:



 
Income (loss) from continuing operations
$
(0.15
)

$
0.31

Loss from discontinued operations


(0.29
)
Net income (loss) per common share – basic and diluted
$
(0.15
)

$
0.02

Weighted average shares outstanding
22,074


23,122


The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.


33






PICO HOLDINGS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY
For the year ended December 31, 2018
(In thousands)

 
Shares of Common
Stock Issued
 
Common
Stock
 
Additional Paid-in
Capital
 
Accumulated Deficit
 
Accumulated Other
Comprehensive
Income
 
Shares of
Treasury Stock
 
Treasury Stock,
at Cost
 
Total
Beginning balance, December 31, 2017
23,154

 
$
23

 
$
379,388

 
$
(172,767
)
 
$
544

 
1

 
$
(25
)
 
$
207,163

Stock-based compensation expense
 
 
 
 
425

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
425

Exercise of restricted stock units
28

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Withholding taxes paid on vested restricted stock units
 
 
 
 
(55
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(55
)
Purchases of treasury stock
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2,455

 
(27,621
)
 
(27,621
)
Retirement of treasury stock
(2,334
)
 
(2
)
 
(26,508
)
 
 
 
 
 
(2,334
)
 
26,510

 

Distribution of treasury stock to deferred compensation plan participant
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(1
)
 
25

 
25

Net loss
 
 
 
 
 
 
(3,329
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(3,329
)
Reclassification of unrealized gain on investments to accumulated deficit
 
 
 
 
 
 
560

 
(544
)
 
 
 
 
 
16

Ending balance, December 31, 2018
20,848

 
$
21

 
$
353,250

 
$
(175,536
)
 
$

 
121

 
$
(1,111
)
 
$
176,624


The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements

34




PICO HOLDINGS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY
For the year ended December 31, 2017
(In thousands)

 
Shares of Common
Stock Issued
 
Common
Stock
 
Additional Paid-in
Capital
 
Accumulated Deficit
 
Accumulated Other
Comprehensive
Income
 
Shares of
Treasury Stock
 
Treasury Stock,
at Cost
 
Non-controlling
Interest
 
Total
Beginning balance, December 31, 2016
23,125

 
$
23

 
$
495,468

 
$
(173,231
)
 
$
6,661

 
55

 
$
(927
)
 
$
99,575

 
$
427,569

Stock-based compensation expense
 
 
 
 
1,872

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
299

 
2,171

Exercise of restricted stock units
76

 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Withholding taxes paid on vested restricted stock units
 
 
 
 
(831
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(121
)
 
(952
)
Changes in ownership of noncontrolling interest
 
 
 
 
(465
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
465

 

Distributions to noncontrolling interest
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(26
)
 
(26
)
Purchases of treasury stock
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
47

 
(690
)
 
 
 
(690
)
Retirement of treasury stock
(47
)
 
 
 
(690
)
 
 
 
 
 
(47
)
 
690

 
 
 

Distribution of treasury stock to deferred compensation plan participant (former CEO)
 
 
 
 
(106
)
 
 
 
 
 
(54
)
 
902

 
 
 
796

Deconsolidation of noncontrolling interest in conjunction with sale of consolidated subsidiary
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(101,342
)
 
(101,342
)
Special dividend paid
 
 
 
 
(115,860
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(115,860
)
Net income
 
 
 
 
 
 
464

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1,150

 
1,614

Unrealized gain on investments, net of deferred income tax of $3,483 and reclassification adjustments of $9,781
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(6,193
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(6,193
)
Foreign currency translation
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
76

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
76

Ending balance, December 31, 2017
23,154

 
$
23

 
$
379,388

 
$
(172,767
)
 
$
544

 
1

 
$
(25
)
 
$

 
$
207,163


The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements



35



PICO HOLDINGS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
For the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017
(In thousands)
 
2018
 
2017
Operating activities:
 
 
 
Net income (loss)
$
(3,329
)
 
$
1,614

Adjustments to reconcile net income (loss) to net cash provided by (used in) operating activities:

 

Provision for deferred income taxes

 
3,442

Depreciation and amortization expense
76

 
303

Stock-based compensation expense
425

 
1,295

Loss (gain) on sale or impairment of investments
1,304

 
(8,722
)
Net (income) loss from discontinued operations, net
(43
)
 
5,645

Gain on sale of property, plant and equipment

 
(165
)
Changes in assets and liabilities, net of effects of acquisitions and dispositions:
 
 
 
Notes and other receivables
1,065

 
1,619

Real estate, water, and intangible assets
5,246

 
13,027

Income taxes

 
(275
)
Other assets
30

 
32

Deferred compensation
(2,247
)
 
(7,500
)
Accounts payable and accrued expenses
816

 
(10,714
)
Other operating activities, net
6

 
54

Cash provided by (used in) operating activities - continuing operations
3,349

 
(345
)
Cash used in operating activities - discontinued operations
(313
)
 
(9,728
)
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities
3,036

 
(10,073
)
 
 
 
 
Investing activities:
 
 
 
Proceeds from the sale of investments

 
197,848

Proceeds from maturity of investments
80

 
139,912

Purchases of investments

 
(270,317
)
Proceeds from the sale of property, plant and equipment

 
470

Purchases of property, plant and equipment
(18
)
 
(5
)
Cash provided by investing activities - continuing operations
62

 
67,908

Cash provided by investing activities - discontinued operations

 
47,173

Net cash provided by investing activities
62

 
115,081

 
 
 
 
Financing activities:
 
 
 
Special dividend paid

 
(115,860
)
Payment of withholding taxes on exercise of restricted stock units
(55
)
 
(672
)
Purchases of treasury stock
(27,621
)
 
(690
)
Cash used in financing activities - continuing operations
(27,676
)
 
(117,222
)
Cash used in financing activities - discontinuing operations

 
(11,638
)
Net cash used in financing activities
(27,676
)
 
(128,860
)
Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents
(24,578
)
 
(23,852
)
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of year
37,128

 
60,980

Cash and cash equivalents of continuing operations, end of year
$
12,550

 
$
37,128


36



PICO HOLDINGS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS, CONTINUED
For the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017
(In thousands)
 
2018
 
2017
Supplemental disclosure of cash flow information:
 
 

Cash paid (received) during the year for:
 
 

Payment (refund) of federal and state income taxes
$
53

 
$
(367
)


 

Non-cash investing and financing activities:

 

Issuance of common stock for vested restricted stock units
$
263

 
$
1,824

Fair value of common stock of Century received in the sale of UCP, Inc.


 
$
60,044

Distribution of debt and equity securities in satisfaction of deferred compensation liability (including 1,375 and 53,996 shares of treasury stock in 2018 and 2017, respectively)
$
1,866

 
$
15,709


The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements

37



PICO HOLDINGS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

FOOTNOTE INDEX

1.
NATURE OF OPERATIONS AND SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Organization and Operations:

PICO Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries (collectively, “PICO” or the “Company”), is a holding company. As of December 31, 2018, the Company has presented its consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements using the guidelines prescribed for real estate companies, as the majority of the Company’s assets and operations are primarily engaged in real estate and related activities.

The Company’s most significant operating subsidiary as of December 31, 2018 was Vidler Water Company, Inc. (“Vidler”), a Nevada corporation. Vidler owns water resources and water storage in the southwestern United States, with assets and operations in Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. Currently, Vidler is primarily focused on selling its existing water rights and storage credits.

Smaller Reporting Company:

The Company qualifies as a Smaller Reporting Company (“SRC”) under the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) definition and therefore certain disclosures that are no longer required have been removed in accordance with the SEC’s disclosure requirements for SRCs.

Principles of Consolidation:

The accompanying consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its wholly-owned, majority-owned and controlled subsidiaries, and have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”). Intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.

Use of Estimates in Preparation of Financial Statements:

The preparation of financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses for each reporting period. The significant estimates made in the preparation of the Company’s consolidated financial statements relate to intangibles, real estate and water assets, deferred income taxes, stock-based compensation, and contingent liabilities. While management believes that the carrying value of such assets and liabilities were appropriate as of December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017, it is reasonably possible that actual results could differ from the estimates upon which the carrying values were based.


38



Special Dividend:

In October 2017, the Company declared a special cash dividend of $5.00 per share, which amounted to approximately $115.9 million. The distribution was paid on November 20, 2017, with an ex-dividend date of November 21, 2017.

Tangible Water Assets and Real Estate:

Tangible water assets and real estate include the cost of certain tangible water assets, water storage credits and related storage facilities, real estate, including raw land and improvements. The Company capitalizes pre-acquisition costs, the purchase price of real estate, development costs and other allocated costs, including any interest, during development and construction. Pre-acquisition costs, including non-refundable land deposits, are expensed to cost of sales when the Company determines continuation of the related project is not probable.

Additional costs to develop or otherwise get tangible water and real estate assets ready for their intended use are capitalized. These costs typically include direct construction costs, legal fees, engineering, consulting, direct cost of drilling wells or related construction, and any interest costs capitalized on qualifying assets during the development period. The Company expenses all maintenance and repair costs. The types of costs capitalized are consistent across periods presented. Tangible water assets consist of various water interests in development or awaiting permitting. Amortization of real estate improvements is computed on the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the improvements ranging from five to 15 years.

Intangible Water Assets:

Intangible water assets include the costs of indefinite-lived intangible assets and is comprised of water rights and the exclusive right to use two water transportation pipelines. The Company capitalizes development and entitlement costs and other allocated costs, including any interest, during the development period of the assets to tangible water assets and transfers the costs to intangible water assets when water rights are permitted. Water rights consist of various water interests acquired or developed independently or in conjunction with the acquisition of real estate. When the Company purchases intangible water assets that are attached to real estate, an allocation of the total purchase price, including any direct costs of the acquisition, is made at the date of acquisition based on the estimated relative fair values of the water rights and the real estate.

Intangible assets with indefinite useful lives are not amortized but are tested for impairment at least annually in the fourth quarter, or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the asset may be impaired, by comparing the fair value of the assets to their carrying amounts. The fair value of the intangible assets is calculated using discounted cash flow models that incorporate a wide range of assumptions including current asset pricing, price escalation, discount rates, absorption rates, timing of sales, and costs. These models are sensitive to minor changes in any of the input variables.

Investments:

At December 31, 2018, the Company had no investments with a carrying value. At December 31, 2017, the Company’s investment portfolio was comprised of corporate bonds and equity securities. Corporate bonds were purchased based on the maturity and yield-to-maturity of the bond and an analysis of the fundamental characteristics of the issuer. The Company’s investments in equity securities primarily consisted of common stock of publicly traded and private small-capitalization companies in the United States (“U.S.”). Such investments were reported at fair value. Investments in private companies are generally held at the lower of cost or fair value, unless the Company has the ability to exercise significant influence. The cost of any equity security sold is determined using an average cost basis and specific identification for bond cost. Sales and purchases of investments are recorded on the trade date.

Other-than-Temporary Impairment:

All of the Company’s debt and equity investments are subject to a periodic impairment review. The Company recognizes an impairment loss when a decline in the fair value of its investments below the cost basis is judged to be other-than-temporary.

Factors considered in determining whether a loss is temporary on an equity security includes the length of time and extent to which the investments fair value has been less than the cost basis, the financial condition and near-term prospects of the investee, extent of the loss related to credit of the issuer, the expected cash flows from the security, the Company’s intent to sell the security and whether or not the Company will be required to sell the security before the recovery of its cost. If a security is impaired and continues to decline in value, additional impairment losses are recorded in the period of the decline if deemed other-than-temporary. Subsequent recoveries of the value are reported as unrealized gains and are part of other comprehensive income or loss.


39



Impairment of Long-Lived Assets:

The Company records an impairment loss when the condition exists where the carrying amount of a long-lived asset or asset group is not recoverable. Impairment of long-lived assets is triggered when the estimated future undiscounted cash flows, excluding interest charges, for the lowest level for which there is identifiable cash flows that are independent of the cash flows of other groups of assets do not exceed the carrying amount. The Company prepares and analyzes cash flows at appropriate levels of grouped assets. If the events or circumstances indicate that the remaining balance may be impaired, such impairment will be measured based upon the difference between the carrying amount and the fair value of such assets determined using the estimated future discounted cash flows, excluding interest charges, generated from the use and ultimate disposition of the respective long-lived asset.

Noncontrolling Interests:

The Company reports the share of the results of operations that are attributable to other owners of its consolidated subsidiaries that are less than wholly-owned as noncontrolling interest in the accompanying consolidated financial statements. In the consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive income or loss, the income or loss attributable to the noncontrolling interest is reported separately and the accumulated income or loss attributable to the noncontrolling interest, along with any changes in ownership of the subsidiary, is reported within shareholders’ equity.

Cash and Cash Equivalents:

Cash and cash equivalents include short-term, highly liquid instruments, purchased with original maturities of three months or less.

Other Assets:

Other assets include the following significant account balances:

Property, Plant and Equipment, Net:

Property, plant and equipment are carried at cost, net of accumulated depreciation. Depreciation is computed on the straight-line method over the estimated lives of the assets. Buildings and leasehold improvements are depreciated over the shorter of the useful life or lease term and range from 15 to 30 years, office furniture and fixtures are generally depreciated over seven years, and computer equipment is depreciated over three years. Maintenance and repairs are charged to expense as incurred, while significant improvements are capitalized. Gains or losses on the sale of property, plant and equipment are included in other income.

Accounts payable and accrued expenses:

Accounts payable and accrued expenses includes trade payables and accrued construction payables.

Deferred Compensation:

The Company reports the investment returns generated in the deferred compensation accounts in other income with a corresponding expense recognized in general and administrative costs. In July 2017, the Company’s board of directors elected to terminate the Company’s deferred compensation plans. In accordance with applicable regulations, distribution of the assets and settlement of the deferred compensation obligation was made to the participants in July 2018.

Other Liabilities:

Other liabilities includes primarily employee benefits, unearned revenues, option payments and deposits received.


40



Revenue Recognition:

Sale of Real Estate and Water Assets:

Revenue recognition on the sale of real estate and water assets conforms with accounting literature related to the sale of real estate, and is recognized in full when there is a legally binding sale contract, the profit is determinable (the collectability of the sales price is reasonably assured, or any amount that will not be collectible can be estimated), the earnings process is virtually complete (the Company is not obligated to perform significant activities after the sale to earn the profit, meaning the Company has transferred all risks and rewards to the buyer). If these conditions are not met, the Company records the cash received as deferred revenue until the conditions to recognize full profit are met.

Other Income, Net:

Included in other income are various transactional results including realized gains and losses from the sale of investments and property, plant and equipment, interest income, sales of oil and gas, and other sources not considered to be the core focus of the existing operating entities within the group.

Cost of Sales:

Cost of Real Estate and Water Assets:

Cost of real estate and water assets sold includes direct costs of the acquisition of the asset less any impairment losses previously recorded against the asset, development costs incurred to get the asset ready for use, and any capitalized interest costs incurred during the development period.

General, Administrative, and Other:

General, administrative, and other costs include salaries and benefits, stock-based compensation, consulting, audit, tax, legal, insurance, property taxes, rent and utilities, and other general operating expenses.

Stock-Based Compensation:

Stock-based compensation expense is measured at the grant date based on the fair values of the awards, calculated using the closing stock price on the date of grant, and is recognized as expense over the period in which the share-based compensation vests using the straight-line method. When an employee restricted stock unit (“RSU”) vests, the recipient receives a new share of PICO common stock for each RSU, less the number of shares of common stock equal in value to applicable withholding taxes. When an RSU is forfeited, all previously recognized expense is reversed during the respective forfeiture year and the remaining unamortized expense is canceled.

Accounting for Income Taxes:

The Company’s provision for income tax expense includes federal and state income taxes currently payable and those deferred because of temporary differences between the income tax and financial reporting bases of the assets and liabilities. The asset and liability method of accounting for income taxes also requires the Company to reflect the effect of a tax rate change on accumulated deferred income taxes in income in the period in which the change is enacted.

In assessing the realization of deferred income taxes, management considers whether it is more likely than not that any deferred income tax assets will be realized. The ultimate realization of deferred income tax assets is dependent upon the generation of future taxable income during the period in which temporary differences become deductible. If it is more likely than not that some or all of the deferred income tax assets will not be realized a valuation allowance is recorded. At December 31, 2018, the Company concluded that it is likely that not all of its deferred tax assets will be realized, and accordingly, a valuation allowance was recorded against the deferred tax assets that are not expected to be realized.

The Company recognizes any uncertain income tax positions on income tax returns at the largest amount that is more-likely-than-not to be sustained upon audit by the relevant taxing authority. An uncertain income tax position will not be recognized unless it has a greater than a 50% likelihood of being sustained. The Company recognizes any interest and penalties related to uncertain tax positions in income tax expense.


41



The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Tax Act”), enacted in December 2017, resulted in significant changes to the U.S. tax law by, among other things, reducing the U.S. federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, elimination or reduction of certain domestic deductions and credits, and limitations on the deductibility of interest expense and executive compensation as well as limitations on the use of future net operating losses. In December 2017, the SEC staff issued Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118, Income Tax Accounting Implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (SAB 118), which allowed the Company to record provisional amounts during a measurement period not to extend beyond one year of the enactment date. As a result, the Company previously recorded a provisional estimate of the effect of the Tax Act in its financial statements. In the fourth quarter of 2018, the Company completed its analysis to determine the effect of the Tax Act and recorded immaterial adjustments as of December 22, 2018.

Due to the tax legislation, the Company remeasured its U.S. deferred tax assets and liabilities based on the rates at which they are expected to reverse in the future, which is generally 21%. The Company recorded a decrease related to its deferred tax assets and liabilities of $35.6 million with a corresponding adjustment to the valuation allowance for the year ended December 31, 2017. As our deferred tax asset is offset by a full valuation allowance, this change in rates had no impact on our financial position or results of operations.

Loss per Share:

Basic earnings or loss per share was computed by dividing net earnings by the weighted average number of shares outstanding during the period. Diluted earnings or loss per share was computed similarly to basic earnings or loss per share except the weighted average shares outstanding are increased to include additional shares from the assumed exercise of any common stock equivalents using the treasury method, if dilutive. The Company’s free-standing stock appreciation rights (“SAR”), performance-based price-contingent stock options (“PBO”), and RSU are considered common stock equivalents for this purpose. The number of additional shares related to these common stock equivalents is calculated using the treasury stock method.

For the two years ended December 31, 2018, the Company’s common stock equivalents were excluded from the diluted per share calculation because their effect on earnings per share was anti-dilutive.

Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements:

In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued guidance which establishes a right-of-use model that requires a lessee to record a right-of-use asset and a lease liability on the balance sheet for all leases with terms longer than twelve months. Leases will be classified as either "finance" or "operating," with classification affecting the pattern of expense recognition in the income statement. This update requires a modified retrospective transition as of the beginning of the earliest comparative period presented in the financial statements. This update is effective for financial statements issued for annual periods and interim periods within those annual periods beginning after December 15, 2018, and early adoption is permitted.

We will adopt the Lease Standard effective January 1, 2019 applying an optional transition method that will allow us to continue to apply the current guidance of ASC 840 in the comparative periods in the year of adoption. We have elected the “package of practical expedients,” which permits us to not reassess prior conclusions about lease identification, lease classification and initial direct costs. We have also made an accounting policy election to not recognize right-of-use assets or lease liabilities for leases with terms of 12 months or less. The most significant impact relates to its accounting for operating leases. The Company has concluded the adoption of ASU 2016-02 will have an immaterial impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

In January 2016, the FASB issued guidance which makes several changes, including the elimination of the available-for-sale classification of equity investments, and requires equity investments with readily determinable fair values to be measured at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in earnings. Effective January 1, 2018, the Company adopted the new guidance and recorded a cumulative effect adjustment to decrease opening retained deficit at January 1, 2018 by $560,000 as required for equity investments recorded at fair value, formerly available-for-sale securities.

In May 2014, the FASB issued guidance regarding revenue from contracts with customers, which provides a consistent revenue accounting model across industries. The Company has reviewed this update and other guidance that was subsequently issued to further clarify the implementation guidance. Under this guidance, revenue is recognized as the transfer of goods and services to customers takes place and in amounts that reflect the payment or payments that are expected to be received from the customers for those goods and services and requires new disclosures about revenue. The Company adopted the guidance effective January 1, 2018 which did not have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements.


42



2.    TANGIBLE WATER ASSETS AND REAL ESTATE, NET

The cost assigned to the various components of tangible water and real estate assets were as follows (in thousands):
 
December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
Tangible water assets
$
29,622

 
$
29,655

Real estate and improvements held and used, net of accumulated amortization of $12,003 at December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017
9,469

 
9,469

Other real estate inventories
5,207

 
5,551

Total tangible water and real estate assets, net
$
44,298

 
$
44,675


The Company’s real estate improvements were fully depreciated at December 31, 2016.

3.    INTANGIBLE ASSETS

The Company’s carrying amounts of its intangible assets were as follows (in thousands):
 
December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
Pipeline rights and water credits at Fish Springs Ranch
$
83,108

 
$
83,897

Pipeline rights and water rights at Carson-Lyon
21,542

 
25,569

Other
17,267

 
17,319

Total intangible assets
$
121,917

 
$
126,785


Fish Springs Ranch Pipeline Rights and Water Credits:

There are 13,000 acre-feet per-year of permitted water rights at Fish Springs Ranch. The existing permit allows up to 8,000 acre-feet of water per year to be exported to support the development in the Reno, Nevada area. Under a settlement agreement signed in 2007, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (the “Tribe”) agreed to not oppose any permitting activities for the pumping and export of groundwater in excess of 8,000 acre-feet of water per year, and in exchange, Fish Springs Ranch will pay the Tribe 12% of the gross sales price for each acre-foot of additional water that Fish Springs Ranch sells in excess of 8,000 acre-feet per year, up to 13,000 acre-feet per year. The obligation to expense and pay the 12% fee is due only if and when the Company sells water in excess of 8,000 acre-feet, and accordingly, Fish Springs Ranch will record the liability for such amounts as they become due upon the sale of any such excess water. Currently, Fish Springs Ranch does not have regulatory approval to export any water in excess of 8,000 acre-feet per year from Fish Springs Ranch to support further development in northern Reno, and it is uncertain whether such regulatory approval will be granted in the future.

Impairment Losses:

There were no impairment losses recognized on intangible assets during the years ended December 31, 2018 or December 31, 2017.

4.    INVESTMENTS

At December 31, 2018, the Company had no available-for-sale investments. The cost and carrying value of available-for-sale investments at December 31, 2017 were as follows (in thousands):
December 31, 2017
Cost
 
Gross Unrealized
 Gains
 
Gross Unrealized
 Losses
 
Carrying Value
Debt securities: corporate bonds
$
700

 
$
6

 
$
(22
)
 
$
684

Marketable equity securities
513

 
710

 
(5
)
 
1,218

Total
$
1,213

 
$
716

 
$
(27
)
 
$
1,902



43



The amortized cost and carrying value of investments in debt securities, by contractual maturity, are shown below. Actual maturity dates may differ from contractual maturity dates because borrowers may have the right to call or prepay obligations with or without call or prepayment penalties (in thousands):
 
December 31, 2017
 
Amortized Cost
 
Carrying Value
Due in one year or less
$
225

 
$
204

Due after one year through five years
475

 
480

 
$
700

 
$
684


Included in other income, net in the accompanying consolidated financial statements is the net realized gain or loss on investments (in thousands):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
Gross realized gains:
 
 
 
Debt securities
$
82

 
$
77

Equity securities and other investments
2

 
9,746

Total gain
84

 
9,823

Gross realized losses:
 
 
 
Debt securities
(16
)
 
(87
)
Equity securities and other investments (1)
(1,355
)
 
(1,014
)
Total loss
(1,371
)
 
(1,101
)
Net realized gain (loss)
$
(1,287
)
 
$
8,722


(1) Included within this caption for the year ended December 31, 2018 is $1.3 million that is reported in a separate line, impairment loss on unconsolidated affiliate, within the Company’s consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income or loss for the year then ended.

Other Investments:

Investment in Spigit Holdings Corporation (formerly Mindjet, Inc):

The Company previously owned a convertible note receivable (which was recorded within other assets in the consolidated financial statements) and common stock and nonvoting preferred stock representing a voting ownership of 19.3% of Spigit Holdings Corporation (“Spigit”). The carrying value of the investment, including the convertible note receivable and associated interest, was approximately $2.3 million at December 31, 2017.

During the year ended December 31, 2018, we recorded an impairment charge of $1.3 million to write down the value of the Company’s investment in Spigit to zero. Additionally, the Company wrote off $1 million in notes and interest receivable from Spigit. In December 2018, Spigit was merged with another unrelated company and PICO received no compensation or obtained any ownership in the newly formed company.

5.    DISCLOSURES ABOUT FAIR VALUE

Recurring Fair Value Measurements

Assets and liabilities measured at fair value are classified in their entirety based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. The Company’s assessment of the significance of a particular input to the fair value measurement in its entirety requires judgment and considers factors specific to the asset or liability. The following tables set forth the Company’s assets and liabilities that were measured at fair value, on a recurring basis, by level within the fair value hierarchy (at December 31, 2018 there were no assets or liabilities measured at fair value). There were no significant transfers between Level 1 and Level 2 during the year ended December 31, 2017. The Company’s policy is to recognize transfers between levels at the end of the reporting period.


44



At December 31, 2017 (in thousands):
 
Quoted Prices In Active
Markets for Identical Assets
(Level 1)
 
Significant Other
Observable Inputs
(Level 2)
 
Significant
Unobservable Inputs
(Level 3)
 
Balance at December 31, 2017
Assets
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Available-for-sale equity securities (1)
$
975

 
$
244

 

 
$
1,219

Available-for-sale debt securities (1)
$
683

 


 

 
$
683

Total
$
1,658


$
244

 
$

 
$
1,902


(1) Where there are quoted market prices that are readily available in an active market, securities are classified as Level 1 of the valuation hierarchy. Level 1 available-for-sale investments are valued using quoted market prices multiplied by the number of shares owned and debt securities are valued using a market quote in an active market. All Level 2 available-for-sale securities are one class because they all contain similar risks and are valued using market prices and include securities where the markets are not active, that is where there are few transactions, or the prices are not current or the prices vary considerably over time. Inputs include directly or indirectly observable inputs such as quoted prices. Level 3 available-for-sale securities would include securities where valuation is based on unobservable inputs that are supported by little or no market activity and that are significant to the fair value of the assets. This includes certain pricing models, discounted cash flow methodologies and similar techniques that use significant unobservable inputs.

Non-Recurring Fair Value Measurements

Assets and liabilities measured at fair value are classified in their entirety based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. The Company’s assessment of the significance of a particular input to the fair value measurement in its entirety requires judgment and considers factors specific to the asset.

The following table sets forth the Company’s non-financial assets that were measured at fair value, on a non-recurring basis, by level within the fair value hierarchy during the year ended December 31, 2018 (in thousands):
Asset Description
 
Quoted Prices In Active
Markets for Identical Assets
(Level 1)
 
Significant Other
Observable Inputs
(Level 2)
 
Significant
Unobservable Inputs
(Level 3)
 
Total Loss
Investment in unconsolidated affiliate (1)
 
 
 
 
 
$

 
$
1,312


(1) The Company recorded an impairment loss of $1.3 million to write down the value of its investment in Spigit to fair value, which was zero. The fair value approach relied primarily on Level 3 unobservable inputs including potential offers to purchase the entity. The inputs were based upon assumptions believed to be reasonable, but which by their nature are uncertain and unpredictable. Spigit was subsequently merged with another entity as described in note 4,“Investments.”

There were no non-financial assets that were measured at fair value, on a non-recurring basis, during the year ended December 31, 2017.

Estimated Fair Value of Financial Instruments Not Carried at Fair Value

Fair value is defined as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. The level within the fair value hierarchy in which the fair value measurements are classified include measurements using quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities (Level 1), quoted prices for similar instruments in active markets or quoted prices for identical or similar instruments in markets that are not active (Level 2), and significant valuation assumptions that are not readily observable in the market (Level 3).


45



As of December 31, 2018 and 2017, the fair values of cash and cash equivalents, accounts payable, and accounts receivable approximated their carrying values because of the short-term nature of these assets or liabilities.

6.    COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES

The Company leases some of its offices under non-cancelable operating leases that expire at various dates through 2020. Rent expense for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017 for office space was $354,000 and $388,000, respectively.

Future minimum payments under all operating leases were as follows (in thousands):
Year ended December 31,
 
2019
$
356

2020
166

Thereafter

Total
$
522


Neither PICO nor its subsidiaries are parties to any potentially material pending legal proceedings.

The Company is subject to various litigation matters that arise in the ordinary course of its business. Because litigation is inherently unpredictable and unfavorable resolutions could occur, assessing contingencies is highly subjective and requires judgments about future events. When evaluating contingencies, the Company may be unable to provide a meaningful estimate due to a number of factors, including the procedural status of the matter in question, the presence of complex or novel legal theories, and/or the ongoing discovery and development of information important to the matters. In addition, damage amounts claimed in litigation against the Company may be unsupported, exaggerated or unrelated to possible outcomes, and as such are not meaningful indicators of the Company’s potential liability. The Company regularly reviews contingencies to determine the adequacy of accruals and related disclosures. The amount of ultimate loss may differ from these estimates, and it is possible that the Company’s consolidated financial statements could be materially affected in any particular period by the unfavorable resolution of one or more of these contingencies.

Whether any losses finally determined in any claim, action, investigation or proceeding could reasonably have a material effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows will depend on a number of variables, including: the timing and amount of such losses; the structure and type of any remedies; the significance of the impact any such losses, damages or remedies may have on the consolidated financial statements; and the unique facts and circumstances of the particular matter that may give rise to additional factors.

7.    STOCK-BASED COMPENSATION

At December 31, 2018, the Company had one stock-based payment arrangement outstanding, the PICO Holdings, Inc. 2014 Equity Incentive Plan (the “2014 Plan”).

The 2014 Plan provides for the issuance of up to 3.3 million shares of common stock in the form of performance-based price-contingent stock options (“PBO”), restricted stock unit (“RSU”), stock-settled stock appreciation rights (“SAR”), non-statutory stock options, restricted stock awards (“RSA”), performance shares, performance units, deferred compensation awards, and other stock-based awards to employees, directors, and consultants of the Company (or any present or future parent or subsidiary corporation or other affiliated entity of the Company). The 2014 Plan allows for broker assisted cashless exercises and net-settlement of income taxes and employee withholding taxes. Upon exercise of a PBO, RSU, and SAR, the employee will receive newly issued shares of PICO common stock with a fair value equal to the in-the-money value of the award, less applicable federal, state and local withholding and income taxes (however, the holder can elect to pay withholding taxes in cash).

The Company recorded total stock based compensation expense of $425,000 and $1.3 million during the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively.


46



Performance-Based Options (PBO):

At various times, the Company has awarded PBO to various members of management. All of the PBO issued contain a market condition based on the achievement of a stock price target during the contractual term and vest monthly over a three year period. The vested portion of the options may be exercised only if the 30-trading-day average closing sales price of the Company’s common stock equals or exceeds 125% of the grant date stock price. The stock price contingency may be met any time before the options expire and it only needs to be met once for the PBO to remain exercisable for the remainder of the term. Compensation expense is amortized on a straight-line basis over the requisite service period for the entire award, which is the vesting period of the award. However, any unrecognized compensation expense for unvested awards can be accelerated if the vesting period is modified.

The estimated fair value of the Company’s PBO was determined using a Monte Carlo model, which incorporated the following assumptions:
 
 
2014
10-Year Option
Grant date
 
11/14/2014

Expiration date
 
11/14/2024

Grant date stock price
 
$
19.51

Historical volatility
 
35.00
%
Risk-free rate (annualized)
 
2.38
%
Dividend yield (annualized)
 
%
PBO granted
 
167,619

Weighted average grant date fair value
 
$
6.51

Fair value of award on grant date
 
$
1,475,705


The determination of the fair value of PBO using an option valuation model is affected by the Company’s stock price, as well as assumptions regarding a number of complex and subjective variables. The volatility is calculated through an analysis based on historical daily returns of PICO’s stock over a look-back period equal to the PBO contractual term. The risk-free interest rate assumption is based upon a risk-neutral framework using the 10-year zero-coupon risk-free interest rates derived from the treasury constant maturities yield curve on the grant date, for the 10-year PBO award. The dividend yield assumption was based on the expectation of no future dividend payouts by the Company.

A summary of PBO activity was as follows:
 
Performance-Based Options
 
Weighted-Average Exercise Price Per Share
Outstanding at December 31, 2016
453,333

 
$
19.51

Granted

 


Forfeited
(285,714
)
 
$
19.51

Outstanding at December 31,2017
167,619

 
$
14.51

Granted

 


Forfeited

 


Outstanding at December 31, 2018
167,619

 
$
14.51


On January 8, 2017, 285,714 PBO expired and were canceled in conjunction with the termination of the Company’s former CEO. The remaining 167,619 PBO outstanding are exercisable for up to 10 years from the grant date.


47



 
Performance-Based Options
 
Weighted-Average Exercise Price Per Share
 
Weighted-Average Contractual Term Remaining (Years)
 
Aggregate Intrinsic Value
Vested at December 31, 2016
402,117

 
$
19.51

 
4.5
 
$

Vested
51,216

 
 
 
 
 
 
Forfeited
(285,714
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vested at December 31, 2017 (1)
167,619

 
$
14.51

 
6.9
 
$

Vested

 
 
 
 
 
 
Forfeited

 
 
 
 
 
 
Vested at December 31, 2018
167,619

 
$
14.51

 
5.9
 
$


(1) In November 2017, the exercise price per share of the PBO was reduced to reflect the special dividend paid to shareholders.

As of December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017, there were no PBO exercisable as the market condition had not been met. The was no unrecognized compensation cost related to unvested PBO at December 31, 2018 and at December 31, 2017.

Restricted Stock Units (RSU):

RSU awards the recipient, who must be continuously employed by the Company until the vesting date, unless the employment contracts stipulate otherwise, the right to receive one share of the Company’s common stock. RSU issued to management do not vote and are not entitled to receive dividends, however the RSU issued to the Company’s director’s are entitled to dividends.

A summary of RSU activity was as follows:
 
RSU Shares
 
Weighted-Average Grant Date Fair Value Per Share
Outstanding and unvested at December 31, 2016
48,232

 
$
14.85

Granted
54,186

 
$
15.01

Vested
(71,944
)
 
$
14.58

Forfeited
(19,999
)
 
$
13.82

Outstanding and unvested at December 31, 2017
10,475

 
$
19.51

Granted
19,716

 
$
12.59

Vested
(30,191
)
 
$
14.99

Forfeited

 
$

Outstanding and unvested at December 31, 2018