Agrochemical manufacturer Bayer is to spend over $10 billion in settling current and future legal cases over its Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide, as well as smaller amounts on dicamba and PCBs in water cases.
The company is to pay $10.1 billion to $10.9bn to resolve major outstanding litigation it inherited through the acquisition of Monsanto, including US Roundup product liability litigation, dicamba drift litigation and PCB water litigation.
The US Roundup resolution will close around 75% of current Roundup cases, a total of some 125,000 filed and unfiled claims ($8.8b to $9.6bn) plus $1.25bn to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation.
“First and foremost, the Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end,” comments Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann. “It is financially reasonable when viewed against the significant financial risks of continued, multi-year litigation and the related impacts to our reputation and to our business. It will also return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to the full body of science.
“We stand strongly behind our glyphosate-based herbicides, which are among the most rigorously studied products of their kind, and four decades of science support their safety and that they are not carcinogenic.”
At the same time, Bayer is paying up to a total of $400m to settle dicamba drift litigation involving alleged damage to crops in the US between 2015-20 and $650m to resolve cases over PCB in water litigation – Monsanto legally manufactured PCBs until 1977.
The settlements will be funded from cash flow and the imminent divestment of the Animal Health business unit to Elanco – $5bn in 2020 and 2021 with the balance paid in 2022.