Shareholders rebuke Bayer bosses over Monsanto-linked stock rout
Bayer shareholders on Friday cast a vote of disapproval of the German drugmaker’s top management amid anger over a stock price slump as litigation risks mount from the $63 billion takeover of seed maker Monsanto.
A 55.5pc majority of shareholders at its annual general meeting voted against ratifying the executive board’s business conduct during 2018, the company said.
Such a vote, which features prominently at every German AGM, is largely symbolic because it has no bearing on management’s liability or tenure but it is seen as a key gauge of investor sentiment.
Bayer’s non-executive supervisory board, in turn, won a 66.4pc majority of the votes ratifying its business conduct during 2018, the spokesman said.
About 30 billion euros ($34 billion) have been wiped off Bayer’s market value since August, when a U.S. jury found the pesticide and drugs group liable because Monsanto had not warned of alleged cancer risks linked to its weedkiller Roundup.
Bayer suffered a similar defeat last month, while more than 13,000 plaintiffs are claiming damages.
Bayer is appealing or plans to appeal the verdicts and has pointed to global regulators’ findings that the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is safe.
No incumbent executive board members at companies listed in Germany’s blue-chip index DAX has flunked the vote, meaning receiving an approval vote of less than 50 percent at an AGM. Approval rates above 95pc are typical results.