Bayer is now facing lawsuits from around 11,200 plaintiffs over the health implications of Roundup and Ranger Pro, its glyphosate-based weedkillers.
The German life science giant revealed the figure Wednesday as it announced its results for fiscal 2018. Full-year sales were up 13% and EBITDA before special items up 2.8%, but full-year net earnings were down more than three-quarters due to a $3.8 billion impairment charge and a $2.3 billion charge in connection with Bayer’s acquisition of Roundup maker Monsanto.
“Over recent years we have systematically developed into a focused life science company, clearly aligned to the megatrends in health and agriculture and united under the strong umbrella brand Bayer,” said Bayer chairman Werner Baumann. “The acquisition in agriculture has lifted us to the number one position in this market. The integration of the two companies has gotten off to an excellent start.”
Bayer’s shares, which took a battering last year from court judgements relating to glyphosate, rose 4.7% on the results announcement.
The company is currently appealing against a ruling that said its Monsanto products were responsible for groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson’s cancer. Seven more cases are set to go to court this year—indeed, one began this week. At the end of 2018 Bayer said it knew of 9,300 plaintiffs. That means a 20% rise in complaints over just three months.
“We have the science on our side and will continue to vigorously defend this important and safe herbicide for modern and sustainable farming,” said Baumann.