Environmental activists before Bayer's AGM in Bonn, Germany, April 26 2019. Picture: REUTERS/THILO SCHUELGEN
Environmental activists before Bayer's AGM in Bonn, Germany, April 26 2019. Picture: REUTERS/THILO SCHUELGEN

Frankfurt — Germany’s Bayer has agreed with plaintiffs to postpone its next two US lawsuits over the alleged cancer-causing effects of its glyphosate-based weed killers to allow more time for talks on a settlement.

The company, which is facing 42,700 US plaintiffs, is widely expected to eventually buy itself out of the litigation, with analysts putting the size of a future settlement at between $8bn and $12bn.

Bayer agreed with the plaintiff to delay for about six months a case in the California superior court for Lake County scheduled for January 15, a company spokesperson said in a written statement.

A second case due to begin on January 21 in the California superior court for Alameda County would also be postponed until a date yet to be determined.

Bayer said the postponements will provide more time for it and representatives of the plaintiffs to “engage constructively in the mediation process”.

The company, which acquired the weed killer brands last year as part of a $63bn takeover of Monsanto, has ruled out pulling the products from the US market, citing regulators and extensive research which have found glyphosate to be safe.

Early in 2020 it will appeal to reverse the first three US court rulings that awarded tens of millions of dollars to each plaintiff.

Other trials initially scheduled for 2019 have already been postponed.

Reuters