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Bayer more stringent in glyphosate settlement talks due to downturn

The Bayer AG logo sits on the exterior of the drugmaker's offices in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.
Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

German drugs and pesticides company Bayer said the economic downturn due to the coronavirus has prompted it to take a tougher stance in talks to settle claims its glyphosate-based weedkillers cause cancer.

The pandemic has significantly slowed the mediation process, it said in a statement on Monday.

"The company will consider a deal only if it is financially reasonable and puts in place a mechanism to resolve potential future claims efficiently. 

Against the background of a looming recession and looking at, in part, considerable liquidity challenges, this applies now more than ever," Chief Executive Werner Baumann said.

The company added that fourth-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 10.2% to 4.39 billion euros ($4.76 billion), beating average analyst expectations of 4.17 billion,  according to Refinitiv data.