Shareholders in Germany sue Bayer over glyphosate weedkiller
Investors have taken legal action in Germany against the chemical giant Bayer, accusing it of not having informed them of the risks associated with its glyphosate weedkiller, their lawyers told AFP Friday.
“We have filed suit against Bayer,” said the law firm Tilp, which represents several investors.
German business weekly Wirtschaftswoche first reported the litigation.
The claims for damages, which were filed at a regional court in Cologne “almost six months ago” had not been made public until now.
The shareholders allege that Bayer did not inform them sufficiently about the legal and economic risks associated with the glyphosate weedkiller Roundup, an accusation the company denies.
“We consider the lawsuits to be unfounded and will defend ourselves accordingly,” Bayer said in a statement.
Bayer acquired Roundup when it took over the US agrochemical company Monsanto in a $60-billion (49-billion-euro) deal in 2018.
The World Health Organization’s cancer branch labelled Roundup a “probable carcinogen” in 2015, a claim Bayer strongly disputes.
Bayer has since paid billions in damages in the US amid thousands of court cases that allege Roundup causes cancer.
The Leverkusen-based company put an end to a large number of the lawsuits in the US in June last year with a $11 billion settlement.
But the final amount is still to be decided after a California judge questioned the agreement.
Bayer’s share price has lost around half its value since it acquired Monsanto.
The total number of claimants has not been specified by Tilp, but it said that they “are not many at the moment”.
But the case “interests several hundred small shareholders” and institutional investors, says Tilp.
The law firm estimates that it could eventually claim “more than a billion euros in damages” from Bayer.
Another law firm, Hausfeld, is suing Bayer for 37 million euros on behalf of US investor Kingstown Capital Management, Wirtschaftswoche reported.