© Rene Van Den Berg/Dreamstime
© Rene Van Den Berg Dreamstime

Bayer Battered by Further Roundup Costs, Brazilian Currency Depreciation

Nov. 3, 2020
Fluctuations in the value of the Brazilian real and Roundup settlements led the company to a $10.95 billion loss before interest and tax.

Bayer AG reported a rough third quarter November 3. The agriculture, biotech, and pharmaceutical company reported 8.5 billion euros ($9.9 billion USD) in sales for the quarter, 13.5% worse than last year’s quarter, and a loss before income and taxes of 9.4 billion euros ($10.95 billion).

Issues currently facing the company include the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, depreciation of the Brazilian real, and higher-than-anticipated legal costs related to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

The company faces issues selling products to farmers who are making less money due to low biofuel prices: sales figures in North America fell 19% from a year ago and in Latin America by 20.6%.

The company also said it lost about $238.9 million in negative currency effects due to fluctuations in Brazilian currency, which added to the loss of sales in Latin America. Brazil is the world’s second-largest agricultural market.

Finally, Bayer is also facing a higher-than-expected legal bill for challenges related to Roundup weedkiller. The company inherited lawsuits related to the herbicide, which plaintiffs say causes cancer, after it acquired Monsanto Co. in 2018 for $63 billion.

In June 2020, Bayer made an agreement to pay $11 billion to settle most of the cases without admitting liability, but in July, a judge in the Northern District of California sided with the plaintiffs on the potential for future lawsuits. According to Bayer, that could increase the price of settling the issue by about $750 million more.

“Bayer remains strongly committed to a resolution that simultaneously addresses the current litigation on reasonable terms and provides a viable solution to manage and resolve future litigation,” the company said in a statement.

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