It was reported by the Australian Financial Review on Mon (21 Jan) that the CEO of German drug-maker Bayer, Werner Baumann, has been in Singapore and Australia over the past week to reassure “big investors” that his company would be able to meet its growth targets, despite facing multiple lawsuits by its subsidiary Monsanto.

In Singapore, the biggest investor of Bayer is Temasek Holdings, the national sovereign wealth fund of Singapore.

It was reported in Apr last year that Bayer sold 3.6 per cent stake to Temasek for 3 billion euros at 96.77 euros per share. The money is used as part of Bayer’s plan in a US$62.5 billion takeover of Monsanto. Together with its existing holding in Bayer, Temasek would then own about 4 percent in Bayer after the transaction. By Jun, with Temasek’s help, Bayer successfully acquired Monsanto to become the biggest seed and agricultural chemical maker in the world.

However, in Aug last year, a California court ruled against Monsanto and decided that its weed killer, “Roundup”, has indeed caused cancer in a former school groundskeeper, Mr Lee Johnson. Mr Johnson’s lawyers argued that Monsanto actually knew of the cancer risk posed by Roundup as far back as the 1970s, but failed to inform the public and instead engaged in a “deliberate effort to distort the truth” as the weed killer generated hefty returns.

The California court awarded US$289 million as damages to Mr Johnson. It was later reduced to US$78 million, and Bayer, which denies the allegations, said it would appeal the decision.

But close to 10,000 more people have also filed similar lawsuits and investors have now viewed Bayer shares as high-risk stocks they don’t want to include in their portfolios. This has made the past year one of the most difficult in Bayer Group’s 155-year history.

Bayer has shed more than 30 billion euros from its market capitalization since after losing the first lawsuit in the California court. So far, Bayer has cut huge numbers of jobs and sold off parts of the company. It even announced buying back its own shares. But none of these measures has helped to stop the free fall of its share price:

As at yesterday’s closing (22 Jan), Bayer’s share price was 65.96 euros. Since Temasek bought 3 billion euros worth of shares at 96.77 euros in Apr last year, that means it has lost 30.81 euros per share or 31.8% of the 3 billion euros investment. So, in 9 months, Temasek has lost at least 955 million euros or S$1.5 billion.

Meanwhile, Bayer CEO Baumann has signaled a more “rigorous defence” of the chemical glyphosate used in Monsanto’s weed killer in the impending lawsuits. He continued to deny that glyphosate causes cancer in those cancer sufferers who are suing Monsanto.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

Driver of AYE fatal accident remanded for another week on doctor's request

The driver who caused terrible accident when he travelled against the flow…

四党到宏茂桥拜早年 吴明盛称联盟“麻雀虽小五脏俱全”

昨日(19日),人民力量党(PPP)、国人为先党(SingFirst)、革新党(RP)和民主进步党(PPP)。一同前往宏茂桥市镇中心展开首次联合走访活动,并向当地民众拜早年、派芦柑。 上述四党曾传出计划结盟迎战选举,也邀请由陈清木医生领导的前进党加入。不过后者早前已表示目前比较倾向较松散的联盟。 据《海峡时报》报导,国人为先党党魁陈如斯表示目前四党仍待注册联盟,并指仍在观察和收集反馈,且目前反应不一,目前持续与其他政党洽谈。 早前,前进党中委陈仲熙,因为揶揄四在野党组盟如“抱团防沉船”的言论而引来挞伐。对此陈清木在上周五受访时重申,前者意见不代表他的观点,也不代表前进党。 他也不认为陈仲熙言论会对该党造成负面影响,“我想一些小波折不必担心太多”,他认为政治上难免会有风波,不必被它们弄得太紧绷。 “你必须看大局,大局就是… 同仇敌忾。” 冀陈清木瓜分执政党选票 据了解,陈如斯在昨日受访时告知记者,反对党目前已有三到四成的基本盘,希望陈清木能在来届选举帮忙瓜分执政党选票,但不是在野党的。 人民力量党秘秘书长吴明盛则告知记者,他们虽是小船但肯定没有沉船,也以“麻雀虽小五脏俱全”来形容四党联盟。 对于陈清木“松散联盟”的建议,他认为在野党应有共同的政策平台,例如在2011年大家群起围攻组屋价格资产增值(asset enhancement)议题;但是相对下在2015年选举,各党攻打不同议题,致使反对党得票率跌至30.1巴仙。

WP’s Yee Jenn Jong disagrees with Minister Masagos Zulkifli’s statement about nurses wanting to wear tudung at work

Workers’ Party (WP) politician and former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Yee…

ComfortDelGro taxi burst into fire at Simei Station

A ComfortDelGro taxi was seen burning at Simei Station 1 on Tuesday…