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Chemical giant Bayer to cut management jobs after huge loss

Company’s net loss nearly $4.9b from July to September

By AFP - Nov 08,2023 - Last updated at Nov 08,2023

A photo taken on April 23, 2019 shows a board bearing the logo of German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer at the group's headquarters in Leverkusen, western Germany (AFP photo)

FRANKFURT — German chemicals giant Bayer said on Wednesday it would cut management jobs and was examining splitting off one of its divisions after reporting a massive third-quarter loss.

The maker of Aspirin has long been under pressure from activist investors as its problems mounted, and earlier this year brought in a new CEO to help steer the company in a new direction.

It reported a net loss nearly 4.6 billion euros ($4.9 billion) from July to September, compared to a profit of nearly 550 million euros in the same period last year, dragged down by massive writedowns at its agrochemicals division.

This was linked to losses related to higher interest rates, and also reflects ongoing problems in the division due to falling sales and prices of its key glyphosate-based herbicides.

"We're not happy with this year's performance," new Chief Executive Bill Anderson said in a statement.

The company said it plans "remove multiple layers of management and coordination" by the end of the year, which will include "a significant reduction in the workforce".

Bayer did not say how many jobs might be affected.

"95 per cent of the decision-making in the organisation will shift from managers to the people doing the work," said Anderson.

The diversified group — whose products include medicines, seeds and crop chemicals — said it was looking at splitting off either its consumer health or crop science division. 

Splitting the company into three businesses had been examined, but ruled out, it said.

Further details will be disclosed in March, it said. Splitting the company into at least two parts — the agricultural and pharmaceutical businesses — to contain problems has been a key demand of investors. 

Bayer has faced problems since its 2018 takeover of US firm Monsanto.

The German conglomerate inherited Monsanto's legal woes around its Roundup glyphosate-based weedkiller, and has since faced a wave of lawsuits in the United States over claims it causes cancer. 

Bayer denies this.

 

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