|Bid||66.43 x 28400|
|Ask||66.45 x 2100|
|Day's range||66.40 - 67.37|
|52-week range||44.85 - 78.34|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.29|
|PE ratio (TTM)||15.10|
|Earnings date||04 Aug 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||2.80 (4.25%)|
|Ex-dividend date||29 Apr 2020|
|1y target est||120.99|
(Bloomberg) -- While Bayer AG said it took a major step toward wrapping up litigation over its Roundup weedkiller with a settlement of almost $11 billion, the company still faces about 30,000 unresolved cancer claims that could cost billions, and lawyers are vowing even more lawsuits.“If Bayer and its investors thought the Roundup litigation was wrapped up in a nice, neat ball with this settlement, they are sadly mistaken,” said Tom Kline, a Philadelphia-based plaintiffs’ lawyer who won an $8 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson last year over one of its anti-psychotic drugs. “We are working hard getting these cases in and ready for trial.”Roundup litigation was by far the biggest liability that the German chemical giant inherited when it acquired Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018. On Wednesday, Bayer announced settlements totaling $12.1 billion that included as much as $10.9 billion for Roundup, $820 million for toxic-chemical pollution and $400 million related to damage from a dicamba-based herbicide.But Bayer only managed agreements to end about 95,000 of the 125,000 lawsuits claiming Roundup caused cancer. The others refused to settle, and the number of cases is growing. Last week, attorney Fletch Trammell filed 13 suits on behalf of kids who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after being exposed to the weedkiller in backyards, parks and playgrounds.Read More: How Roundup Went From Bayer Asset to Burden“The settlement announcement feels like Bayer is trying to stop a gigantic problem by putting its finger in the proverbial dam,” said Jason Itkin, a Houston based lawyer who won a $70 million verdict against J&J last year. “Every day, new people are diagnosed with Roundup-induced cancer. There will be thousands and thousands of future cases because Bayer is currently still selling this dangerous product.”The company denies Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is a carcinogen, a position backed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.William Dodero, Bayer’s global head of litigation, said at a press conference Wednesday he couldn’t predict how many new Roundup cases will emerge. But the Leverkusen, Germany-based company has made progress in ending its Roundup litigation, resolving all the cases set for trial and those brought by the plaintiffs’ lawyers leading the litigation, Dodero said.The settlements must still be approved by a federal judge in San Francisco who has some of the cases consolidated before him.“This litigation has been going on for four years with speculation about settlement for more than a year and plaintiff attorneys have had ample opportunity to bring forward claims,” Chris Loder, a company spokesman, said in an emailed statement. “We’ve now settled approximately 75% of claims, resolved cases with all leaders” on the plaintiffs side and “have an allowance to resolve the remaining cases.”Shareholders seemed to welcome the agreements. Bayer’s American depositary receipts climbed on the settlement news, gaining as much as as 5%. The ADRs, which represent one-quarter of a regular share, were up 15 cents to $20.54 at 5:19 p.m. in New York.The company made offers to all the holdouts and is “confident that we can bring this to a final closure in due course,” Dodero said.Too LowBut Bayer’s settlement offers were insultingly low, according to James Onder, a St. Louis lawyer who held his 24,000 cases out of the settlement.“The unsettled legal exposure for Bayer could easily exceed tens of billions of dollars as our firms and others have rejected the minuscule offers accepted by some other lawyers,” Onder said in an email. “To act as if one quarter of the Roundup cancer victims don’t exist is nothing more than a flagrant attempt by Bayer to manipulate its stock price and serves as a slap in the face” to those victims, he said.After Bayer officials refused to make “serious” settlement offers, Trammell said he filed the 13 state court cases on behalf of families who say their children developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from Roundup exposure. Eleven suits were filed in St. Louis last week and the others were file in San Francisco, he said.The children range in age from five to 17, according to court filings. Most are still battling their cancers, but 13-year-old Jacob Savage of Forks, Washington, died in 2017. Bayer has been hit with at least 20 other suits involving children and Roundup, court dockets show.“I’m happy they didn’t settle with me and that I can go out and get more good cases,” said Mark Robinson, a California attorney. “These guys need a couple of more verdicts against them to start valuing the cases properly.”The company lost three damage verdicts totaling more than $191 million. While those cases are on appeal, they spurred a surge in new filings over the past year that led to a plunge in Bayer shares.Precautions taken by courts during the Covid-19 pandemic -- including suspensions of jury selection -- may make it difficult for any of the plaintiff laywers to get cases set for trial until at least next year, said Ken Feinberg, who is serving as the chief settlement mediator in the Roundup cases.“I predict all the remaining cases will settle within a few months,” Feinberg said. “People are going to want their share of this settlement.”Glenn Norton, a retired Missouri appellate judge who served as a mediator for cases in St. Louis and worked with Feinberg on national settlements, said lawyers whose cases weren’t part of Wednesday’s agreement are still “determined to get them settled, too.”Norton said “Bayer paid a little more than people thought they would” to resolve most of the Roundup cases, which shows company officials were keen to get as much of the litigation behind them as possible.The consolidated case is In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).(Updates comment from mediator Norton. An earlier version of this story corrected a comment by the chief mediator, Feinberg.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Activist-in-chief Elliott Management Corp. sometimes nudges companies to agree with its strategic ideas in private. The target firm then announces a new plan or some stretching targets and gets an endorsement from the feared hedge fund at the same time, sparing itself a public battle. Think of recent shifts by enterprise software group SAP SE and life-sciences group Bayer AG that met with simultaneous applause from Elliott. Dutch insurer NN Group NV, with a fresh chief executive officer, has chosen confrontation.Investors see insurance as dull and complicated and best left to experts. That creates a shortage of buyers for some quality stocks. NN is a classic case, Elliott reckons, and its shares should be double the current price. The company just needs to get investors to stop seeing it as a mysterious black box. To Elliott, it’s a reliable dividend machine which, run more aggressively, could pay out even more cash to shareholders.The activist tried to influence new CEO David Knibbe behind the scenes in the run up to this week’s strategy day. That evidently didn’t work so Elliott started a campaign, calling on NN to cut costs and shift some of its government bond portfolio into riskier but higher-yielding corporate bonds to boost annual cash flow. That would justify setting a target for 7 billion euros ($8 billion) of free cash flow over the next five years.The fund also wanted Knibbe to release capital by hedging out more of the company’s exposure to longevity — policyholders living longer — and by selling assets. It wanted a 3 billion-euro target for that, some one-third of the market capitalization.In true insurance style, NN’s rebuttal is oblique. Knibbe’s pledge has set a goal for organic capital generation, most of which will turn into free cash flow, for 2023. That will be achieved partly by moving into riskier investments, as Elliott requested. The number, 1.5 billion euros, is consistent with Elliott’s five-year cumulative target. A shame then that NN couldn’t just make the commitment Elliott sought.Meanwhile, Elliott wants NN to say it will pay out 80% of its free cash flow in dividends. NN is pledging to raise the dividend each year in line with its business performance without committing to a particular payout ratio. Again, the two sides aren't so far apart.The real differences are on the one-off capital releases. NN says it’s open to doing more longevity transactions, and to jettisoning units that don’t earn their cost of capital. But again, there’s no commitment to releasing a specific amount of capital this way. Its position is defensible: Insurers need to be careful with anything that weakens solvency as regulators can be capricious. What seems like excess capital one day can be essential the next.Even so, there’s enough common ground here that it’s odd that Elliott’s engagement didn’t culminate in a joint announcement this week, SAP-style. NN has now played into Elliott’s hands by being conservative on its targets and vague on precisely what might trigger a capital return. Between them, Elliott and the company have pushed out over 200 pages of slide presentations in the last month. The way to pull in new investors here is clarity and simplification, and this battle is hardly helping. No wonder the shares have gone nowhere.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Bayer AG’s $12.1 billion settlement to resolve U.S. lawsuits over its flagship weedkiller Roundup and other products offered only fleeting relief to investors looking to move on from the legal woes that have hobbled the stock for almost two years.The shares declined as much as 2% in Frankfurt trading, erasing early gains a day after the German company’s move to resolve a trio of major litigation risks that soured its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto.Getting past the legal drama is crucial for Chief Executive Officer Werner Baumann, but the milestone settlement left open the potential of more lawsuits. Bayer still faces about 30,000 unresolved cancer claims that could cost billions, and lawyers vowed to keep pressuring the agriculture-chemicals giant.“If Bayer and its investors thought the Roundup litigation was wrapped up in a nice, neat ball with this settlement, they are sadly mistaken,” said Tom Kline, a Philadelphia-based plaintiffs’ lawyer who won an $8 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson last year over one of its anti-psychotic drugs. “We are working hard getting these cases in and ready for trial.”Bayer on Wednesday announced settlements that included as much as $10.9 billion for Roundup, the embattled weedkiller inherited from Monsanto, $820 million for toxic-chemical pollution and $400 million related to damage from dicamba, another herbicide.The deal includes agreements to end only about 95,000 of the 125,000 lawsuits claiming Roundup caused cancer. The others refused to settle, and the number of cases is growing. Last week, attorney Fletch Trammell filed 13 suits on behalf of kids who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after being exposed to the weedkiller in backyards, parks and playgrounds.“The settlement announcement feels like Bayer is trying to stop a gigantic problem by putting its finger in the proverbial dam,” said Jason Itkin, a Houston based lawyer who won a $70 million verdict against J&J last year. “Every day, new people are diagnosed with Roundup-induced cancer. There will be thousands and thousands of future cases because Bayer is currently still selling this dangerous product.”Former Roundup users blame glyphosate for their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. The Leverkusen, Germany-based company denies glyphosate is a carcinogen, a position backed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A federal judge ruled earlier this week that California officials can’t force companies to place warning labels on glyphosate-based products.Paying DebtBayer faced a surge in new lawsuits last year after it lost several U.S. jury trials, and investors issued a rare rebuke to Baumann last spring. Some, including Elliott Management Corp., urged the company to seek a comprehensive settlement.Bayer executives said the deal shouldn’t affect the company’s credit rating or dividend policy and that paying down its large debt load from the Monsanto transaction remains a “high priority.” Payments can be funded with cash on hand, future free-cash flow, the sale of Bayer’s animal-health unit and potentially by issuing bonds, officials said.Still, the cost of resolving most of the litigation will slow the company’s ability to pay down debt, wrote Moritz Melsbach, an analyst for Moody’s.Under the terms of the Roundup settlement, Bayer will set up a $1.25 billion fund to cover future cancer claims. That money will also be used to provide financial assistance to struggling cancer patients and support research into whether the weedkiller’s active ingredient is a carcinogen, the company said.Individual payouts may range from several hundred thousand dollars per case to less than $50,000.The accord allows Bayer to continue selling Roundup in the U.S. for use in backyards and farms without any safety warning, and plaintiffs’ attorneys who settled their case inventories agreed to stop taking new Roundup clients.Retired Judge Glenn Norton, who served as a mediator to help negotiate the agreement, said that Bayer’s lawyers and the attorneys for Roundup users who haven’t yet reached deals are “determined to get them settled, too.”Norton, who served 14 years as an appellate judge in Missouri, was tapped by the judges presiding over Roundup cases in the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County to serve as mediator for the Bayer litigation in those courts.The uncertainty of getting trial dates amid the pandemic played a role in bringing both sides together to hash out the deals, Norton said. The lack of trials allowed lawyers to focus on overcoming disputes about value of the cases, he added.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says“Suits can still be pursued by those not part of the deal or those who allege injury in the future, but it’s very likely potential claims are legally flawed.”\--Holly Froum, analystRead report here.Three California juries in a row have ruled against the company and ordered it to pay damages to former Roundup users. The next cases could be brought in state court in St. Louis. Bayer is appealing the cases it has lost.“The remaining cases are in the hands of lawyers who know how to litigate, so we’re going to see some more Roundup trials in the future,” said Fletch Trammell, a Texas-based lawyer who held his roughly 5,000 cases out of the settlement. “This litigation is far from over.”The consolidated federal case is In RE: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).(Updates with share decline in 2nd paragraph, comments from retired U.S. judge from 15th paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Bayer AG has at last reached a settlement to end most of the current lawsuits alleging its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer. Whether the German life-sciences group has put this saga completely behind it is less clear, but it has achieved what closure it can.The headline number of $11 billion is in the region that analysts had estimated it would cost to settle litigation around the product, which was inherited in the acquisition of Monsanto Co. in 2018. As much as $9.6 billion of the total will go to law firms handling current claims, of which 75% are now resolved. Logistical challenges and holdouts probably precluded striking deals with the remaining 25%, but the overall sum includes an allowance for resolving those claims. It’s plausible that the core deal here covers the strongest suits most likely to go to court.Bayer always wanted an agreement to be as final as possible. This meant tackling the issue of future claims. It doesn’t want them going before a jury. So it is to create a scientific panel to decide whether glyphosate, the compound in Roundup, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Future claims, it says, will depend on a class agreement heeding its findings. Bayer will provide $1.3 billion to support the panel’s work and this separate legal process, as well as assistance for cancer patients.Citing existing science, the company says it is highly confident the panel will conclude glyphosate is safe. What if the panel decides otherwise? Bayer says plaintiffs will then have to prove they were exposed to dangerous levels of the weed-killer. But there’s no specific number for paying out on any future claims.The results of this new scientific work on glyphosate are perhaps several years away. It is hard for the company to make any financial provision against a possibly negative outcome now, especially one which it believes won’t happen. But the theoretical risk of a new wave of payouts in future may weigh on investors’ minds even if the noise around Roundup quietens down in the meantime.Clearly, Bayer management is displeased that it is having to pay out these sums in relation to a product it asserts is safe when used properly. From its perspective, the problem is the U.S. legal system and the challenges facing lay juries weighing scientific data. The settlement gets Roundup out of court now and makes scientists weigh the evidence in future.For sure, Bayer was right to see that the sheer volume of cases made contesting the claims an unrealistic endeavor. That would have meant years of bad publicity from the courtroom arguments. Over time, Bayer’s standing in society would get eroded. Just consider the revelations about Monsanto’s conduct that have come to light.For now, Bayer can now get on with making the Monsanto acquisition deliver. The settlements costs, to be spread over two years, are affordable and Bayer’s dividends won’t be affected. But the shares are still badly trailing the sector even with investors having long expected this deal. It must feel like the end of a long journey for CEO Werner Baumann. But the hurdle for making the Monsanto deal pay off remains high.(This column was updated with more details on the settlement total.)This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The company on Wednesday agreed to pay as much as $10.9 billion to end the litigation by U.S. Roundup users who say the herbicide caused them to develop a form of blood cancer. The company decided to make a calculated gamble on the scientific evidence which so far has overwhelmingly supported its claim that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is safe for agricultural use. "Bayer is taking a huge risk by doing this and it's a bet that time can show that the science underlying the plaintiffs' claims is bad," said David Noll, a law professor at Rutgers University.
(Bloomberg) -- Bayer AG just agreed to pay as much a $10.9 billion to settle most of the legal headaches inherited with the takeover of Monsanto two years ago. That marriage, which followed a two-year courtship and cost Bayer a quarter of its value, didn’t start out as rocky. Here are key highlights of its history:May 23, 2016, Bayer Pounces on MonsantoAs Werner Baumann took the helm of Bayer, mergers and acquisitions were already reshaping the agricultural-products industry. Feeling the pressure, Bayer approached Monsanto, itself a target after failing to buy a rival. Shares immediately slumped on concern Bayer would be financially stretched by such a giant deal.Sept. 14, 2016, Deal Is ClinchedAfter bumping its offer price, Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer secured a takeover accord that would turn it into the world’s biggest supplier of seeds and pesticides. The agreement included a $2 billion breakup fee.Dec. 1, 2017, First U.S. NodThe transaction started off well. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. had taken a long, hard look at China’s acquisition of Switzerland’s Syngenta on national security grounds. By contrast, Bayer sailed through its review unscathed.April 26, 2018, Bayer Forced to Sell Prize AssetsAntitrust regulators insisted that Bayer sell chunks of its existing agro-chemical and seed businesses worth 7.6 billion euros ($8.6 billion) in return for approval. Germany’s BASF SE, which had been waiting in the wings, jumped at the opportunity. Bayer had to part with prime assets, creating a much stronger competitor right in its backyard.May 29, 2018, Last Regulatory Hurdle ClearsU.S. antitrust regulators became the last major authority to approve the deal after the biggest divestment package ever in a U.S. merger enforcement case, paving the way for the takeover to be completed the following week.Aug. 10, 2018, First Legal Cracks AppearJust two months after Bayer clinched the deal, a court in California ruled in favor of a former school groundskeeper who alleged Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkillers, including the flagship Roundup brand, had been the cause of his cancer. The first lawsuit to go to trial resulted in $289 million in damages. Baumann and his legal team were aware of a controversy around glyphosate, but banked on a lack of scientific evidence establishing Roundup’s risks. Bayer, like Monsanto before it, insisted the popular herbicide was safe.March 27, 2019, Bayer Loses Second TrialAnother Roundup setback took place when a federal court awarded compensation and punitive damages totaling more than $80 million to a 70-year-old California man who became ill after spraying the herbicide on his property for decades. Bayer again vowed to “vigorously defend” Roundup, but it was an ominous sign, ramping up the pressure to settle.April 26, 2019, Bombshell at Bayer MeetingA bruising moment at Bayer’s annual shareholder meeting, when Baumann and other managers lost a vote of confidence. In what’s usually a formality at such gatherings, 55% of investors expressed their mistrust in the CEO, prompting an immediate supervisory board meeting. Similar rejections have cost German CEOs their jobs, but Baumann soldiered on with the backing of Chairman Werner Wenning.May 13, 2019, Another Trial LossIn the third U.S. trial to make it to court, a Californian couple who had been using Roundup for three decades were awarded $2 billion in damages, bringing Bayer’s shares down more than 40% since the deal was cemented. The company called the ruling “unjustifiable.” It’s appealing all three lost suits. July 30, 2019, Lawsuits SkyrocketWith the number of glyphosate lawsuits swelling to about 18,400 in the U.S., Baumann said he’d consider a “financially reasonable” settlement. Management also engaged in a mediation process ordered by a district judge in California.March 23, 2020, Bayer Stock Hits Rock BottomWith mounting lawsuits, Bayer shares reach 47.50 euros, the lowest level in almost eight years. Estimates for the cost of damages vary, with some pegging it as high as $20 billion. Like Volkswagen AG’s fines for cheating on diesel emission tests in 2017, glyphosate was fast becoming a painful blow to another icon of German industry.June 24, 2020, Settlement AnnouncedThe company agreed to make a payment of as much as $10.9 billion to resolve about three-quarters of the existing Roundup lawsuits and address potential future ones, capping months of efforts to bring its herbicide woes to a close.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Bayer AG agreed to settle U.S. lawsuits claiming that its widely-used weedkiller Roundup caused cancer for as much as $10.9 billion after more than a year of talks, resolving litigation that has hit the company's share price. "The Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end," Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann said.
Bayer AG <BAYGn.DE>, after more than a year of talks, agreed to pay as much as $10.9 billion (8.77 billion pounds) to settle close to 100,000 U.S. lawsuits claiming that its widely-used weedkiller Roundup caused cancer, resolving litigation that has pummeled the company's share price. The German drugs and pesticides maker has come to terms with about 75% of the 125,000 filed and unfiled claims overall, it said in a statement on Wednesday of the deal to end legal disputes it inherited with its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto in 2018. "The Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end," Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann said.
Bayer Aktiengesellschaft / Key word(s): Legal Matter/Scheme of Arrangement Bayer Aktiengesellschaft: Bayer announces agreements to resolve major legacy Monsanto litigation 24-Jun-2020 / 18:45 CET/CEST Disclosure of an inside information acc. to Article 17 MAR of the Regulation (EU) No 596/2014, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement. * * *Bayer announces agreements to resolve major legacy Monsanto litigationLEVERKUSEN, GERMANY, June 24, 2020 - Bayer announced today a series of agreements that will substantially resolve major outstanding Monsanto litigation, including U.S. Roundup(TM) product liability litigation, dicamba drift litigation and PCB water litigation. The main feature is the U.S. Roundup(TM) resolution that will bring closure to approximately 75% of the current Roundup(TM) litigation involving approximately 125,000 filed and unfiled claims overall. The company will make a total payment of $10.1 billion to $10.9 billion (€9.1 billion to €9.8 billion) to resolve current and address potential future Roundup(TM) litigation. The resolved claims include all plaintiff law firms leading the Roundup(TM) federal multi-district litigation (MDL) or the California bellwether cases, and those representing approximately 95% of the cases currently set for trial, and establish key values and parameters to guide the resolution of the remainder of the claims as negotiations advance. The resolution also puts in place a mechanism to resolve potential future claims efficiently. The company will make a payment of $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve the current Roundup(TM) litigation, including an allowance expected to cover unresolved claims, and $1.25 billion to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation. The Roundup(TM) class agreement will be subject to approval by Judge Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The resolutions were approved unanimously by Bayer's Board of Management and Supervisory Board with input from its Special Litigation Committee. The agreements contain no admission of liability or wrongdoing.Resolution of Roundup(TM) litigationThe multi-step Roundup(TM) resolution includes several elements. The agreements will resolve the vast majority of the current litigation in U.S. federal and state courts, including both plaintiffs with filed cases and parties who have retained counsel but not yet filed their claims in court. Those participating in the settlement will be required to dismiss their cases or agree not to file. The range of $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion covers both the agreements already signed and those that are still under negotiation. It also reflects the fact that the number of claimants who are eligible to receive compensation under these agreements won't be known until the claims process is well underway. The claims still subject to negotiation largely consist of cases generated by TV advertising and for which plaintiffs' law firms have provided little or no information on the medical condition of their clients, and/or cases held by law firms with small inventories.The three cases that have gone to trial - Johnson, Hardeman and Pilliod \- will continue through the appeals process and are not covered by the settlement. It is important for the company to continue these cases as the appeals will provide legal guidance going forward.Potential future cases will be governed by a class agreement which is subject to court approval. The agreement includes the establishment of a class of potential future plaintiffs and the creation of an independent Class Science Panel. The Class Science Panel will determine whether Roundup(TM) can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), and if so, at what minimum exposure levels. Both the class and company will be bound by the Class Science Panel's determination on this question of general causation, taking this decision out of the jury trial setting and putting it back in the hands of expert scientists. If the Class Science Panel determines that a causal connection between Roundup(TM) and NHL is not established, class members will be barred from claiming otherwise in any future litigation against the company. The Class Science Panel's determination is expected to take several years. Class members will not be permitted to proceed with Roundup(TM) claims prior to the Class Science Panel's determination, and cannot seek punitive damages. The agreed funding is capped at $1.25 billion.The company said that before deciding to settle, it considered the alternative course of continuing to litigate Roundup(TM) cases. In the company's risk assessment, potential negative outcomes of further litigation, including more advertising and growing numbers of plaintiffs, upwards of twenty trials per year and uncertain jury outcomes, and associated reputational and business impacts, likely would substantially exceed the settlement and related costs.Customers, including farmers and other professional users who depend on glyphosate-based herbicides for their livelihoods, will see no change in the availability of Roundup(TM) products under the Roundup(TM) agreements announced today.Resolution of dicamba litigationBayer also announced a mass tort agreement to settle the previously disclosed dicamba drift litigation involving alleged damage to crops. The company will pay up to a total of $400 million to resolve the multi-district litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and claims for the 2015-2020 crop years. Claimants will be required to provide proof of damage to crop yields and evidence that it was due to dicamba in order to collect. The company expects a contribution from its co-defendant, BASF, towards this settlement.The only dicamba drift case to go to trial - Bader Farms \- is not included in this resolution. The company believes the verdict in Bader Farms is inconsistent with the evidence and the law and will continue to pursue post-trial motions and an appeal, if necessary.Resolution of PCB litigationBayer also announced a series of agreements that resolve cases representing most of the company's exposure to PCB water litigation. Monsanto legally manufactured PCBs until ceasing their production in 1977. One agreement establishes a class that includes all local governments with EPA permits involving water discharges impaired by PCBs. Bayer will pay a total of approximately $650 million to the class, which will be subject to court approval.At the same time, the company has entered into separate agreements with the Attorneys-General of New Mexico, Washington, and the District of Columbia to resolve similar PCB claims. For these agreements, which are separate from the class, Bayer will make payments that together total approximately $170 million.Funding sourced from free cash flow and Animal Health divestmentCash payments related to the settlements are expected to start in 2020. Bayer currently assumes that the potential cash outflow will not exceed $5 billion in 2020 and $5 billion in 2021; the remaining balance would be paid in 2022 or thereafter. In order to finance these payments which are subject to tax treatment, Bayer can make use of existing surplus liquidity, future free cash flows, the proceeds from the Animal Health divestment, and additional bond issuances, which will provide flexibility in managing the settlement payments as well as upcoming debt maturities.Based on publications by the rating agencies and the company's communication with them, Bayer expects to keep investment grade credit ratings. With its strong underlying business, the company intends to keep its dividend policy. At the same time, deleveraging the balance sheet remains a high priority. Forward-Looking Statements This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer's public reports, which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.Contact: Mr. Peter Dahlhoff, Bayer AG, Investor Relations, Phone: +49-214-30-33022, e-mail: email@example.com, Fax: 0214-30-96-33022* * *Information and Explanation of the Issuer to this News: Notes: The following resources are available online www.bayer.com/settlements * Speeches for the Investor Conference Call * Links to the conference calls (recordings will also be available there shortly after the calls) * Further information on glyphosate* * *24-Jun-2020 CET/CEST The DGAP Distribution Services include Regulatory Announcements, Financial/Corporate News and Press Releases. Archive at www.dgap.de * * * Language: English Company: Bayer Aktiengesellschaft Kaiser-Wilhelm-Allee 1 51373 Leverkusen Germany Phone: +49 (0)214 30-65742 Fax: +49 (0)21430-9665742 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: www.bayer.com ISIN: DE000BAY0017 WKN: BAY001 Indices: DAX, EURO STOXX 50, Stoxx 50 Listed: Regulated Market in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt (Prime Standard), Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Stuttgart; Regulated Unofficial Market in Tradegate Exchange EQS News ID: 1077829 End of Announcement DGAP News Service
Bayer AG is close to agreeing a settlement worth $8-10 billion over claims its glyphosate-based Roundup weedkiller causes cancer, German business daily Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday. The company's supervisory board was due to discuss and vote on the settlement, which includes a $2 billion buffer for future claims, in the coming days, paper cited company and negotiating partner sources as saying. A spokesman for Bayer declined to comment on the report.
(Bloomberg) -- Bayer AG’s Roundup won’t require a label in California warning consumers that a chemical in the weed killer is known to cause cancer.A federal judge in Sacramento on Monday ruled for Bayer and blocked the state from requiring that any company selling a glyphosate-based produce place a “clear and reasonable warning” on it.California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment listed glyphosate in July 2017 as a chemical known to the state to cause cancer. Bayer’s Monsanto unit has aggressively fought California’s move to add glyphosate to a list created by a voter-approved ballot initiative, Proposition 65, that requires explicit warnings for consumer products containing substances that may cause cancer or birth defects.U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb on Monday made final his 2018 preliminary ruling that requiring Bayer to provide the warning on Roundup is a violation of its free-speech protections. The International Agency for the Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, has found glyphosate is likely to cause cancer but Shubb said others, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, found otherwise.“Notwithstanding the IARC’s determination that glyphosate is a ‘probable carcinogen,’ the statement that glyphosate is ‘known to the state of California to cause cancer’ is misleading,” the judge wrote. “Every regulator of which the court is aware, with the sole exception of the IARC, has found that glyphosate does not cause cancer or that there is insufficient evidence to show that it does.”A coalition of farming groups, including the National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Grower and Agricultural Retailers Association, joined Bayer in the lawsuit opposing the labeling.“This is a very important ruling for California agriculture and for science,” Bayer said in an emailed statement. The judge concluded “the evidence does not support a cancer-warning requirement for glyphosate-based products, which farmers all over the world depend on to control weeds, practice sustainable farming, and bring their products to market efficiently,” it said.Shubb also found that a warning label would expose Bayer to lawsuits in which it has the burden of showing that in using Roundup, exposure to glyphosate falls below the “no significant risk level” in Prop. 65 enforcement actions.“Facing enforcement actions, or even the possible risk of enforcement actions, are cognizable injuries, even if a business can ultimately prove that its product is not a cancer risk,” Shubb wrote.The case is National Association of Wheat Growers v. Zeise, 17-2401, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (Sacramento).(Updates with judge’s ruling in fourth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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(Bloomberg) -- Bayer AG is blocked from selling its controversial dicamba-based herbicide in the U.S. after an appeals court rejected a federal regulator’s permit for the product, compounding the German company’s weed-killer woes.The three-judge panel concluded the Environmental Protection Agency had “failed entirely” to acknowledge some risks dicamba poses and that the agency violated federal regulations when it extended its approval of registration for the herbicide for another two years in October 2018.The court, citing the EPA, said the decision could spur farmers to buy alternative seeds and pesticides. Weed killers can’t be sold or distributed in the U.S. without EPA registration. The decision is the latest blow to Bayer in the wake of its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto -- a deal that made the German company a leader in agriculture products but also saddled it with a mountain of legal liabilities related to weed killers.“We strongly disagree with the ruling and are assessing our options,” Bayer spokesman Chris Loder said in an email. “If the ruling stands, we will work quickly to minimize any impact on our customers this season.”Bayer shares fell 3.9% in Frankfurt trading Thursday. The company doesn’t break down sales of individual products or their active substances and declined to comment on sales at stake. BASF SE, which also makes dicamba, declined 0.3%.‘Day of Reckoning’George Kimbrell, of the Center for Food Safety and a lawyer in the case, called the ruling “a massive win for the farmers and the environment.”“It is good to be reminded that corporations like Monsanto and the Trump Administration cannot escape the rule of law, particularly at a time of crisis like this,” Kimbrell said in an email. “Their day of reckoning has arrived.”U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Thursday called the ruling unfortunate, saying it eliminates one of the tools needed by food producers.“Farmers across America have spent hard earned money on previously allowed crop protection tools,” he said in a statement. “I encourage the EPA to use any available flexibilities to allow the continued use of already purchased dicamba products.”A less volatile formulation of dicamba was originally manufactured by Monsanto after its blockbuster weed-killer Roundup began losing its effectiveness, and farmers had to increasingly deal with resistant “super weeds.”Dicamba is a central ingredient in Bayer’s XtendiMax, and can vaporize after being applied to crops and drift onto neighboring fields that aren’t resistant to the herbicide. It’s widely blamed for damaging 3.6 million acres of untreated soybeans in 2017, and more than 1 million acres in 2018.The EPA “substantially understated risks that it acknowledged” concerning dicamba’s use, the appeals court said. The ruling applies to other dicamba-based herbicides produced by BASF and Corteva Agriscience.“EPA is currently reviewing the court decision and will move promptly to address the court’s directive,” a spokesperson for the agency said.Sales HitBASF will probably lose about 80 million to 90 million euros in sales for the rest of this year ($90 million to $101 million) via its Engenia herbicide, which contains dicamba, Sebastian Bray, an analyst at Berenberg, said by email. That revenue hit will be bigger at Bayer, which also sells seeds tied to dicamba, Bray said.Dicamba will probably stay banned even if this ruling gets appealed, Bray said. Still, the EPA will probably re-authorize dicamba in a revised form in time for next year -- and the agency could even move up that reauthorization before Dec. 20, when the current clearance was set to expire, Bray said.“We are reviewing the opinion, its impact on our FeXapan registration, and our next steps,” Gregg Schmidt, a spokesman for Corteva, said in an email.BASF said in a statement that the ruling will have a “significant adverse impact” on growers who have already purchased dicamba products for this season. The Ludwigshafen, Germany-based company disagrees with the decision and is considering its options to respond.In the first lawsuit over dicamba crop damage to go to trial, a jury in February hit Bayer and BASF with a $265 million damage award to a Missouri farmer who blamed the companies for destroying his peach orchards. Bayer is challenging the verdict.There are about 140 dicamba suits in total, and settling them could cost Bayer and BASF less than $1.5 billion, Holly Froum, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, said in a note Thursday.In its ruling Wednesday, the appeals court acknowledged the “practical effects” of the decision, including the cost to farmers who have already purchased soybean and cotton seeds genetically modified to withstand dicamba and planted for the purpose of using the herbicide.The court quoted the EPA saying that voiding the dicamba registration “could leave those growers with an unusable pesticide technology system and force them to expend additional money on alternative seeds and pesticides.”The judges said in addition to the environmental risks, the EPA’s registration decision on dicamba failed to recognize the “enormous social cost to farming communities” where the herbicide’s use “has turned farmer against farmer, and neighbor against neighbor.” A farmer in Arkansas was shot and killed in an argument over dicamba damage in 2016, according to the ruling.The ruling applies to the 2018 dicamba registration, which expires in December, Loder said, adding that Bayer is working on a new EPA registration for the 2021 growing season and beyond.The case is National Family Farm Coalition v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 19-70115, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco).(Updates with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s comments)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency substantially understated the risks related to the use of dicamba, a chemical found in herbicides sold by Bayer and rivals that are sprayed on genetically engineered soybeans and cotton. The herbicides are known to drift away and damage other crops that are not resistant.
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