By Rod Nickel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bayer AG is confident its appeals of recent court rulings that its glyphosate weed killer Roundup caused cancer will be successful, a senior executive said on Thursday, amid a steep selloff of the company’s shares this week.
Liam Condon, president of Bayer’s crop science division, said the appeals of jury rulings against the chemical will be heard by judges, a factor he sees as favourable to Bayer’s chances.
A California jury on Monday awarded more than $2 billion (£1.56 billion) to a couple who claimed Bayer’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused their cancer, in the largest U.S. jury verdict to date against the company in litigation over the chemical.
It was the third consecutive U.S. jury verdict against the company over the widely-used weed killer, which Bayer acquired as part of its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto last year.
“The key point is from a regulatory point of view, nothing has changed,” Condon said at the BMO Farm to Market investor conference in New York. “We just need to get this litigation sorted out and move on.”
Shares of Germany-based Bayer have fallen about 38 percent since the first adverse U.S. judgement on Roundup last August, leaving the company with a market value smaller than the price it paid for Monsanto.
The “phenomenal” selloff is due to investors being uncertain how to price the lawsuits into the stock, Condon said.
“The experience has been in all industries (involved in litigation), these things always get solved,” he said. “There has been a significant overreaction there and it’s a great buying opportunity. It’s almost like buy one, get one free.”
(Reporting by Rod Nickel in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot)