Bayer more stringent in glyphosate settlement talks due to downturn

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Bayer AG is seen in a showroom of the German drugmaker where the annual results news conference takes place in Leverkusen, Germany February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German drugs and pesticides company Bayer said the economic downturn due to the coronavirus has prompted it to take a tougher stance in talks to settle claims its glyphosate-based weedkillers cause cancer.

The pandemic has significantly slowed the mediation process, it said in a statement on Monday.

“The company will consider a deal only if it is financially reasonable and puts in place a mechanism to resolve potential future claims efficiently. Against the background of a looming recession and looking at, in part, considerable liquidity challenges, this applies now more than ever,” Chief Executive Werner Baumann said.

The company added that fourth-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 10.2% to 4.39 billion euros ($4.76 billion), beating average analyst expectations of 4.17 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Thomas Seythal

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