Due to the economic risks of the corona crisis, the German chemical group Bayer is taking stronger action against the growing number of complaints in the United States regarding the “potentially carcinogenic” herbicide Roundup. The company reported this in its first quarter trading update.
The group maintains that glyphosate, the main ingredient of Roundup, is safe and Bayer is opposed to sentencing to pay damages. The number of complaints rose to 52,500 in the first quarter, from 48,600 reported in February. In the meantime, Bayer is negotiating a settlement. Those talks are “considerably” slower because of the pandemic, according to the chemical giant.
“We will only consider a settlement if it is financially reasonable,” said Bayer’s CEO Werner Baumann. He also finds it important that a possible deal clearly explains how future complaints can be dealt with quickly. According to the CEO, these conditions apply more than ever, now that acute problems with payments and an economic downturn are lurking.
Last quarter, Bayer still had the wind of the pandemic. Turnover rose partly due to strong demand for medicines to EUR 12.8 billion. That meant a growth of 6 percent compared to a year earlier. Profit rose by a fifth to 1.5 billion euros. Despite the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, the outlook for this year remains, Bayer reported.