Bayer AG (BAYRY) shares traded higher in Monday, outpacing the broader German market, after the company said a key trial linked to its Roundup weedkiller had been postponed until February of next year.
The case against Monsanto, which Bayer purchased in a $63 billion takeover last year, was set to resume this month i n St. Louis, Missouri and centers around an allegation by Walter Winston that the chemical maker's Roundup weedkiller, a herbicide that contains the active ingredient glyphosate, caused him to contract non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
"With the change in the trial schedule and no trial dates set through the rest of the year, the appeals of the three completed trials will be a significant focus of the litigation in the months ahead," Bayer said in a statement reported by Reuters.
Bayer shares were marked 2.7% higher in on the Deutsche Boerse in Frankfurt Monday, compared to a 0.1% decline for the DAX performance index benchmark, to change hands at €64.10 each.
Earlier this spring, activist investor Elliot Advisors revealed a $1.1 billion stake in the chemicals group and supported plans to boost its legal team in the face of thousands of Roundup weedkiller lawsuits, with a focus on reaching a class-action settlement.
Analysts have estimated Bayer's glyphosate-based products liability at anywhere between €4 billion and €15 billion, and the company has said some 18,400 lawsuits remain outstanding.
Earlier this summer, U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria upheld a March jury verdict that awarded Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California $5.27 million in compensatory damages after he claimed his long-term exposure to Roundup caused his cancer diagnosis in 2014.
The San Francisco judge, however, cut the level of punitive damages to $20 million from $75 million, noting he award breached Federal laws on the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages.
In early June, a jury in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, California which awarded Alva and Alberta Pilliod $2 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory relief after the pair said Roundup killer caused them to contract cancer.
That verdict followed a 2018 decision from San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos, who ruled that said Bayer should pay $39 million in punitive damages and a further $49 billion in compensatory damages to Dewayne Johnson, a school district groundskeeper who argued that Roundup and Ranger Pro weedkillers, as well as its other glyphosate-based products, did not carry sufficient warnings for the risks of cancer that they carried.