Commodities

Bayer says number of glyphosate plaintiffs jumps to 42,700

Credit: REUTERS/WOLFGANG RATTAY

Germany's Bayer said on Wednesday that the number of U.S. plaintiffs blaming its glyphosate-based weedkillers for their cancer mushroomed to 42,700 from 18,400 in July, raising the stakes in the group's efforts to reach a settlement.

By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Germany's Bayer BAYGn.DE said on Wednesday that the number of U.S. plaintiffs blaming its glyphosate-based weedkillers for their cancer mushroomed to 42,700 from 18,400 in July, raising the stakes in the group's efforts to reach a settlement.

"This significant increase is clearly driven by the plaintiff-side television advertising spend which is estimated to have roughly doubled in the third quarter compared with the entire first half of the year," Bayer, which last year acquired Monsanto for $63 billion, said in a statement.

"However, the number of lawsuits says nothing about their merits," it added.

The company said it continued to be constructively engaged in a mediation process ordered by a federal judge in California.

Bayer is widely expected to eventually settle to buy itself out of the litigation wave, with analysts estimates on the future size of a settlement in a $8-$12 billion range.

Its shares have lost about 30% of their value since last August when a California jury in the first such lawsuit found Monsanto should have warned of the alleged cancer risks associated with its glyphosate-based weedkillers such as Roundup.

Bayer, which says regulators and extensive research have found glyphosate to be safe, is banking on U.S. appeals courts to reverse or tone down the first three court rulings that have so far awarded tens of millions of dollars to each plaintiff.

Third-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the group rose 7.5% to 2.3 billion euros ($2.6 billion), in line with market expectations. They were helped by higher sales of crop protection chemicals, seeds and consumer healthcare products.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger Editing by Michelle Martin)

((ludwig.burger@thomsonreuters.com; +49 69 7565 1311; Reuters Messaging: ludwig.burger.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Other Topics

US Markets

Latest Markets Videos

Reuters

Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest international multimedia news provider reaching more than one billion people every day. Reuters provides trusted business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via Thomson Reuters desktops, the world's media organizations, and directly to consumers at Reuters.com and via Reuters TV.

Learn More