The number of U.S. lawsuits brought against Bayer’s newly acquired Monsanto has jumped to about 8,000, as the German drugmaker braces for years of legal wrangling over alleged cancer risks of glyphosate-based weedkillers.
Bayer had previously disclosed 5,200 such lawsuits against Monsanto, which it acquired in a $63 billion deal completed in June.
“The number of plaintiffs in both state and federal litigation is approximately 8,000 as of end-July. These numbers may rise or fall over time but our view is that the number is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiffs’ cases,” Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann told analysts in a conference call on Thursday.
Bayer shares have lost more than 10 percent since Monsanto was ordered on Aug. 10 to pay $289 million in damages in the first U.S. lawsuit over glyphosate-based weedkillers such as Roundup and Ranger Pro.
A legal headache adds to a number of distractions for Bayer, such as falling consumer care product sales and a rebuke on production practices from the U.S. drugs watchdog, as it seeks to strengthen its drug development pipeline and has begun integrating Monsanto into its organization.
“While this is disappointing, it is not surprising. Indeed, in our litigation scenario analysis, we assumed a doubling of cases to 10,400,” said Alistair Campbell, an analyst at brokerage Berenberg.
Bayer shares were down 1.8 percent at 1600 GMT while the German blue-chip index, GDAXI was up 0.2 percent.