HomeUK TRAVELBayer: Weedkiller maker to take $2.8bn hit as sales fall

Bayer: Weedkiller maker to take $2.8bn hit as sales fall

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Germany’s Bayer AG said it expected to suffer 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion; £2.2 billion) in losses due to slower demand for glyphosate-based products, including the controversial herbicide Roundup.

The announcement came as the company lowered its outlook for the year.

In total, it has set aside more than $15bn (£11.7bn) to settle lawsuits alleging its herbicide is linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers.

Bayer has denied wrongdoing but said the payments would end “uncertainty”.

Bayer said this was mainly due to a “significant decline in sales of glyphosate-based products.”

The company also forecasts that its pre-tax profit could fall to as low as 11.3 billion euros this year, compared with the 13.5 billion euros it reported in 2022.

Roundup was originally launched by the US company Monsanto almost five decades ago. It is known as the world’s best-selling herbicide.

In 2018, Bayer bought Monsanto for $63 billion. This partnership puts Bayer in control of more than a quarter of the global supply of seeds and pesticides.

That same year, a California court issued the first ruling linking Roundup to cancer and awarding substantial compensation to the claimants.

In the lawsuits, Roundup users have blamed the herbicide and its active ingredient glyphosate for their non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers.

In March of last year, the company said it had resolved 107,000 of the approximately 138,000 Roundup-related cases.

Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said in 2020: “The Roundup settlement is the right move at the right time for Bayer to end a long period of unrest.

He echoed the company’s position that science shows: “Roundup does not cause cancer, and therefore, is not responsible for the illnesses alleged in this lawsuit.”

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in many herbicides, although the science of its safety is still inconclusive.

Some countries have banned herbicides containing glyphosate, while others continue to allow them.

In the United Kingdom, there is no nationwide ban on glyphosate, although some councils in the country have stopped using it due to safety concerns.

Bayer will report earnings on August 8. The company did not immediately respond to the BBC’s request for comment on Tuesday.


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