(Bloomberg) -- AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc., which started the year trading for less than 50 cents a share, has attracted tens of thousands of retail investors in the past three months with its plans to expand into package-delivery drones, citing early orders from a “major” e-commerce company it hasn’t named.
Shares of the agricultural drone company more than tripled in April after it reported follow-on purchase orders that related to testing and refining the unnamed client’s “commercial drone small package delivery vehicles.” AgEagle has continued that run in July, more than doubling so far this month after the company’s CEO, J. Michael Drozd, issued a shareholder letter saying the Neodesha, Kansas-based company will expand to Wichita for drone-related manufacturing operations.
AgEagle forecast “promising” new business opportunities as an American drone maker, saying some customers have become wary of Chinese manufacturers because of the “touted supply chain challenges and perceived national security risks.” The company is also seeking customers in the hemp-cultivation market.
AgEagle investors using the Robinhood retail trading platform grew from under 10,000 in early April to over 30,000 by May and now exceed 50,000, according to data from Robintrack. The combination of package delivery and the Wichita expansion has prompted speculation on message boards and in local Kansas media that AgEagle and Amazon, with its Prime Air drone ambitions, could be working together. The Wichita Eagle has reported that the e-commerce giant is due to open a distribution site near the city’s Jabara Airport.
AgEagle and an investor relations contact did not immediately reply to email and phone requests for a comment on the speculation.
The stock, whose ticker UAVS stands for unmanned aerial vehicles, closed Thursday at the highest since April 2018, with a market value of about $151 million. AgEagle became publicly traded after a merger with EnerJex Resources Inc. that closed in March 2018.
In Friday trading, shares of UAVS were down 4.8% to $3.26 as of 12:43 p.m. in New York.
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