Bayer AG shares
fell on Tuesday after the company said fourth-quarter net profit fell, noting that it had a higher number of lawsuits related to its allegedly harmful weedkiller Roundup in 2022 than in 2021.
At 0830 GMT, shares traded 4% down at EUR56.15.
The German agricultural and pharmaceutical company posted net profit of 611 million euros ($648.3 million) for the final quarter of 2022, down from EUR1.16 billion the year prior, and missing a company-provided consensus that had expected EUR981 million. However, sales rose in the period.
Bayer said the number of weedkiller claims now stands at 154,000, of which 109,000 have been settled. A year ago, when it reported 2021 results, the company had said that the claims were 138,000, of which about 107,000 had been settled.
It added that as of December 2022, the company had a provision of $6.4 billion to settle future and existing glyphosate claims.
For the year ahead, the company expects earnings to be lower due to high inflation-driven cost increases, though sales are expected to grow, reaching a range of EUR51 billion to EUR52 billion in the year.
Ebitda before special items is expected to be in the range of EUR12.5 billion to EUR13 billion.
According to Citi analyst Peter Verdult, the guidance is conservative and reflects the company’s upcoming chief executive change, Verdult said in a note. “With a new CEO arriving mid-year, we believe Bayer has applied a touch of conservatism leaving risks to the upside,” he says.
Write to Cecilia Butini at [email protected]