Bayer Biding its Time on Roundup Settlements

29.04.2020 - Bayer has set aside €480 million to defend lawsuits brought by people who claim that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup caused their non-Hodgkins lymphoma, CEO Werner Baumann said at the company’s annual general meeting on Apr. 28.

In addition to the potential settlement with plaintiffs, Baumann said the sum includes funds set aside for the next 3 years to cover related spending. Separately, he told investors that the German group has received €28 million in compensation from its insurance.

Bayer has lost all three lawsuits that have come to trial so far, but is appealing all.

Currently, the group is facing claims from 52,500 US plaintiffs, up from 48,600 at the beginning of April. The US newspaper Wall Street Journal reported in mid-March that Bayer was ready to agree draft settlement terms with six major law firms representing tens of thousands of plaintiffs.

Over the past several weeks, however, the coronavirus pandemic, which among other things has shuttered US courthouses, has slowed negotiations about a settlement, and the former chemical producer now focused on pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals now apparently believes that time is on its side.

Bayer said this week it would continue to push for a deal that is “financially reasonable” and resolves potential future claims efficiently, no matter how long the negotiations take. Against the backdrop of a looming recession and potential liquidity challenges, this applies now more than ever, it said.

According to US reports citing plaintiffs’ attorneys, the Leverkusen-based group has approached law firms that had already completed negotiations for specified settlements, asking to renegotiate the settlement sum.