German pharmaceutical giant Bayer posts record net losses in 2020

Net losses of Bayer amounted to almost 10.5 billion euros (12.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 2020, partly due to costs for glyphosate litigations, the German pharmaceutical giant announced on Thursday.

After achieving a positive result in 2019, full-year EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) fell to minus 16.2 billion euros as Bayer spent 23.4 billion euros in net special charges, which “particularly comprised” provisions for the agreements reached in litigations regarding some of the company’s weed killers such as glyphosate and dicamba.

“Our operational strength in these turbulent times shows just how resilient our businesses are, even during the pandemic,” said Werner Baumann, chairman of the board of management of Bayer. “We continued to drive forward our company’s transformation, advanced our product pipelines and invested in new technologies across all our business units,” Baumann added.

Adjusted for currency and portfolio effects, sales of the German company were almost at the previous year’s level, growing by 0.6 percent to 41.4 billion euros. Bayer’s agricultural business division saw sales growing by 1.3 percent to 18.84 billion euros, as Latin America and China contributed to the increase especially.

Sales at Bayer’s pharmaceutical sector declined by 1.5 percent to 17.24 billion euros. According to Bayer, the decline had been driven by “global COVID-19 restrictions,” which led to a reduced number of some specific medical treatments, particularly in the first half of the year.

For 2021, Bayer expects to achieve “solid operational growth” and “stable earnings” at constant currencies. Sales were anticipated to increase by about three percent, totaling 42 to 43 billion euros at the end of the financial year 2021. (1 euro = 1.22 U.S. dollars)