The Aquis Entertainment Ltd (ASX: AQS) share price has exploded today, up 48.89% at the time of writing to 34 cents a share. Aquis shares closed at 23 cents each yesterday, but opened at 24 cents this morning before rocketing as high as 49 cents (up 65%) just after open.
Today’s move caps off what has been a wild ride for Aquis over 2021 so far. Aquis is a company that, until 2021, had been drifting in relative obscurity for years. Between mid-2015 and the end of last year, the company had slowly lost around 80% of its value. Last year, Aquis even touched the depressingly low share price of less than half a cent.
But 2021 has seen a dramatic reversal of fortune for this company. After starting the year at 4 cents a share, Aquis rocketed by almost 2,000% between 16 and 25 February, when it reached a new all-time high of 82 cents a share. The difference between this company’s 52-week low and 52-week high is an astonishing 27,233% The share price has subsequently slid from those highs, but remains well above where it was just two months ago.
So what is going on with Aquis?
Who is Aquis Entertainment?
Aquis is a gaming company (meaning gambling and casinos, not Monopoly) whose flagship asset is Casino Canberra, the only licensed casino in the Australian Capital Territory. Beyond this, the company also states that it is “actively looking to grow its Australian operations”. Casino Canberra offers everything you would expect from a casino, including entertainment, bars and restaurants, accommodation and (naturally) gambling facilities.
Aquis also has a $307 million redevelopment proposal for Casino Canberra in its pipeline. This would expand the casino with luxury six-star villas, international-standard VIP offerings, more bars and nightclubs, and even a luxury shopping mall.
What’s been causing the Aquis share price volatility?
This is one of the strangest movements that has occurred on the ASX this year so far, I’d wager. There is nothing that can be fully verified to have caused this massive re-valuation of Aquis Entertainment. Between 29 January and 18 February, the company delivered one announcement to the markets. That was a quarterly report on 29 January. Aquis’ next announcement was a pause on trading on 18 February after an ASX query into the massive price movements that occurred in the days prior.
In response to this ASX ‘speeding ticket’, Aquis only had this to say: “The Company is not aware of any information concerning it that has not been announced to market and which could be an explanation for the recent trading in the Company’s securities”.
Even more mystifying is that these moves keep happening with no obvious catalyst. Just look at today. Aquis shares are up almost 50%. Yet the last major announcement from the company was 2 weeks ago (some financial statements). Looking at ASX trading volume data, we can see that today brought a massive surge in trades. Yesterday, approximately 453,000 Aquis Entertainment shares swapped hands. Today, the number is 2.9 million (and we’re still a couple of hours away from market close).
Whatever is going on here, it remains a mystery. But if you love ASX drama, make sure to keep watching this company! At the current Aquis share price, the company has a rough market capitalisation of $62 million.