RPT-Bayer's Monsanto sued by 8,000 plaintiffs on glyphosate

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FRANKFURT, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Bayer said the number of U.S. lawsuits brought against newly acquired Monsanto has risen to about 8,000 from 5,200 previously, after Monsanto was ordered to pay damages for not warning of alleged cancer risks of glyphosate-based weedkillers.

“The number of plaintiffs in both state and federal litigation is approximately 8,000 as of end-July. These numbers may rise or fall over time but our view is that the number is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiffs’ cases,” Chief Executive Werner Baumann told analysts in a conference call on Thursday.

Bayer shares have lost more than 10 percent since Monsanto was ordered on Aug. 10 to pay $289 million in damages in the first of possibly thousands of U.S. lawsuits over glyphosate-based weedkillers such as Roundup and Ranger Pro.

He reiterated the jury’s verdict was inconsistent with the science-based conclusions of regulators and added that demand for glyphosate-based products remained strong.

When asked whether Bayer would consider settling cases out of court, he said: “We will vigorously defend this case and all upcoming cases.”

Second-quarter results, due on Sept. 5, would include provisioning for legal defence costs but no money would at that point be set aside for any possible future damages, finance chief Wolfgang Nickl added. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger Editing by Douglas Busvine)