Evil is as evil does:
Bayer insists that glyphosate-based weedkillers like its Roundup and Ranger Pro products pose no health risk to the farm workers and gardeners who use them around the world. For one particular group of people, however, the substance has proven highly toxic: Bayer’s own shareholders.
Shares in the German pharmaceuticals and chemicals group took another plunge on Wednesday, after a San Francisco jury found that there was a direct causal link between glyphosate and cancer. The product in question was Roundup, the weedkiller acquired by Bayer as part of its $63bn takeover of US seeds and chemicals giant Monsanto last year.
The latest legal setback appeared to take investors by surprise, sending Bayer shares down more than 10 per cent. Since last August, when another California jury ordered Bayer to pay $289m in damages in a similar case, the group’s shares have fallen by more than a third — wiping almost €25bn from its market value. As they contemplate the ever-growing list of glyphosate cases pending in US courts — 11,200 at the latest count — investors have every reason to feel glum.
If you lie with dogs, you get up with fleas, and those glum investors are getting what they deserve.