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Bayer to sell businesses, cut jobs in wake of Monsanto deal

Bayer, the German drugmaker that bought US seed company Monsanto, announced on Thursday the sale of a number of businesses, around 12,000 job cuts and $3.8 billion in impairments.

Chief Executive Werner Baumann is under pressure to boost Bayer’s share price after a drop of more than 35 percent so far this year, dragged down by concern over more than 9,000 lawsuits it faces over an alleged cancer-causing effect of Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

The group said it was looking at options — that could include a sale — for the Coppertone sunscreen and Dr. Scholl’s foot care products from the consumer health care division it bought from Merck & Co. in 2014 for $14 billion.

It will also divest its animal health division, the No. 5 player in the industry, which analysts have said could fetch up to $7.9 billion.

The unit, the largest maker of flea and tick control products for cats and dogs and a supplier of livestock veterinary drugs, had sales of $1.7 billion in 2017, accounting for about 4.5 percent of group revenues.

Bayer will also seek a buyer for its 60 percent stake in German chemical production site services provider Currenta.

All three possible transactions were previously flagged by Reuters.

Its shares were down 0.8 percent in late trading.

Markus Mayer, an analyst at Baader Helvea, said Coppertone and Dr. Scholl’s could fetch $1.1 billion and the Currenta stake could fetch $1.7 billion.

Reckitt Benckiser and Procter & Gamble will likely be among the suitors for the consumer brands, said investment bankers, who asked not to be named.

Under a cost-cutting program that will also target synergies expected from the $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto, Bayer will cut around 12,000 of its 118,200 jobs worldwide.

At the Consumer Health and Pharmaceuticals divisions, Bayer will take about $3.8 billion in impairments and write-offs the fourth quarter.

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