Bayer says a news report claiming the company is trying to spin off its Crop Science division “is based purely on speculation.”

The Platow Brief, a German business publication, said Friday it was "hearing" that new CEO Bill Anderson “is already busy working on plans to spin off [Bayer’s] agrochemicals business, modeled on Siemens Energy, to take it public. It is said that selling CropScience to a strategic or financial investor is not an option.”

“With a spin-off, Bayer could bring the agricultural division to the stock market comparatively quickly and smoothly, but would have to forgo the proceeds from the sale, at least for the time being,” according to the Platow news article, which also noted Bayer “is likely to initially retain a significant stake in CropScience in order to later sell it on the stock exchange.”

In the first quarter of 2023, Crop Science sales were down 1.1% compared to 2022. 

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Sales of corn seed and traits rose substantially, the company said, driven mainly by higher prices in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Herbicides, however, "saw a significant decline in sales due to lower volumes and prices for our glyphosate-based products," Bayer said, while "other herbicide products registered higher sales due to increased prices."

Bayer has been battling lawsuits for years from individuals alleging that Roundup has caused their cancer and has been trying to get a case before the Supreme Court that would force it to decide whether the U.S. Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act preempts state labeling requirements. 

A win before the Supreme Court on preemption would significantly reduce Bayer's legal liability.

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