Bayer investor criticizes company chair for lack of initiative

A bridge is decorated with the logo of a Bayer AG, a German pharmaceutical and chemical maker in Wuppertal, Germany August 9, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Ratta/File Photo

FRANKFURT, Jan 22 (Reuters) - The Bayer (BAYGn.DE) investor Union Investment criticized Bayer's chair for a lack of engagement, such as exploring a spin-off of the company's consumer health division, according to an interview in WirtschaftsWoche.

Bayer is facing demands from activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners to break up, with a sale of the company's consumer health unit and, at a later stage, for a separation of Bayer's pharmaceuticals and agriculture businesses.

Bayer Chair Norbert Winkeljohann "does seek dialogue with investors, but he should have initiated more," Markus Manns, portfolio manager at Union Investment, told WirtschaftsWoche.

"It would definitely have been a matter for the supervisory board to help initiate a spin-off of Consumer Health," Manns added. He noted that chairs at competitors are much more engaged in creating value for shareholders.

Winkeljohann did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesperson for Bayer declined to comment on Union Investment's position. "But generally speaking we are always open to a constructive dialogue with our stakeholders," the spokesperson said.

Reporting by Tom Sims Editing by Tomasz Janowski

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.