Investors pile into Bayer bond to pay settlement charges

Amsterdam | Reuters — Investors piled into a Bayer bond on Wednesday that will help pay for a long-negotiated settlement of U.S. lawsuits claiming its widely-used herbicide Roundup caused cancer.

Demand for the four-tranche bond sale, whose proceeds will include the litigation payments, exceeded 17.5 billion euros, nearly three times the six billion euros (C$9.15 billion) Bayer will raise, according to a lead manager update seen by Reuters.

After more than a year of talks, Bayer agreed to pay as much as US$10.9 billion last week to settle nearly 100,000 U.S. lawsuits to end legal disputes it inherited with its US$63 billion takeover of Monsanto in 2018.

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“Strong appetite (for the bond) seems driven by the fact that uncertainty surrounding the Roundup litigation has now been removed,” said ABN AMRO strategist Shanawaz Bhimji.

The settlement has propped up Bayer’s credit outlook, with Fitch Ratings and Moody’s revising their negative outlooks from three-notches above junk territory to stable on Monday.

Bayer will raise the total amount via four-year, 6.5, 9.5 and 12-year bonds, each set to raise 1.5 billion euros when the deal prices later on Wednesday, according to the lead manager.

— Reporting for Reuters by Yoruk Bahceli.

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