Monday, 17 December, 2018

Bayer axes 1250 pharma jobs, with R&D taking the brunt

Bayer cuts 12,000 staff as it exits animal health business German pharmaceutical giant Bayer to cut thousands of jobs and sell off businesses, after Monsanto deal
Rhonda Young | 02 December, 2018, 02:32

Bayer AG, the German drug maker that bought USA seed company Monsanto Co., on Thursday announced the sale of a number of businesses, job cuts affecting thousands of its staff and €3.3-billion ($4.99-billion) in impairments.

The German-based chemicals and pharmaceutical group, which has a major presence in Whippany, said it would cut about 12,000 jobs out of its 118,200-strong global workforce by the end of 2021.

But barely two months later, a court ruling in the United States left Bayer with multi-million-dollar damages to pay as the judge found that its newly acquired subsidiary Monsanto should have warned a user about cancer risks from its herbicide Roundup.

The company has also announced it intends to exit the animal health business due to "planned efficiency and structural measures".

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Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said: "These changes are necessary and lay the foundation for Bayer to enhance its performance and agility".

Investors gave a muted response to Bayer's announcement, with shares in the group closing down 0.72 percent to 63.77 euros against a flat Dax index. A significant amount of the jobs, it said, would be in Germany.

After the stock fell about 40 percent over the past year, Bayer has faced growing questions about how its disparate units will remain competitive.

The company acquired Dr Scholl and Coppertone four years ago when it bought Merck's consumer healthcare division for $14bn (£11bn).

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The shake-up - which follows its $66bn takeover of agricultural products company Monsanto - will also result in the sale of its animal health division to narrow its focus to pharma, consumer health and crop science.

By exiting peripheral businesses like animal health, Bayer aims to plow resources into core units like pharmaceuticals, where it needs to catch up to competitors.

Bayer's German offices were expected to be the site of most of the job losses, and an Australian company spokesperson told Grain Central it was too early to predict the impact here. It's also looking to more than double - to 2.6 billion euros a year by 2022 - the expected synergies it has predicted from the takeover of Monsanto.

Shares in the German drug giant have fallen more than a third this year.

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