Bayer AG continues to fight claims that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup, causes cancer. But one thing not up for debate: Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto last June has been toxic to the German multinational company.
According to Spiegel Online, Bayer is desperately working to salvage its business by selling off business divisions and laying off employees.
Bayer AG’s leader, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann stands by his company’s decision to buy the agribusiness giant, saying he would buy it again “without any ifs, ands or buts.”
The herbicide has been around since the 1970s and is the most widely used weed killer in the world. Werner stands by the safety of the product despite the World Health Organization, in 2015, classifying it as a probable carcinogen.
But just two months after Bayer acquired Monsanto, the company faced its first trial over cancer allegations. The California jury who heard the case ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to a school groundskeeper who sued the company alleging exposure to glyphosate contributed to his non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis. The verdict was later reduced to $78 million, but the number of lawsuits against the company has grown to more than 8,000.
In the latest blow, investors now see Bayer shares as high-risk, and are excluding them from their portfolios. Bayer executives are reassuring investors, slashing jobs, selling off parts of the company and even announcing it would repurchase its owns shares. So far, public opinion isn’t budging. But Bayer isn’t quitting.
“Life is always life-threatening,” Baumann said. “In both the corporate and private spheres, we make decisions that entail risks every day.”
Source: Spiegel Online