FRANKFURT (dpa-AFX) - Bayer shares continued their stabilization attempt on Wednesday with a plus of almost two percent to 32.32 euros. After a failure in an important study with the blood clotting inhibitor Asundexian - actually a billion-euro hope - the shares had collapsed in November and extended their annual loss to a good 37 percent. Compared to the high for the year in February, the drop had even amounted to more than half.

In recent trading days, the share price then stabilized near its lowest level since the mid-2000s. This Wednesday, traders pointed to a further verdict in a US glyphosate trial against Bayer, which did not further spook investors at the low share price level.

It is the fifth defeat in a row. In addition, the total amount of USD 3.5 million awarded by a jury in Philadelphia to the plaintiff who blames a weedkiller containing glyphosate for her cancer is rather low. In addition, the judge is likely to reduce the amount and Bayer intends to appeal against the verdict.

Bayer, however, continues to defend itself. "We do not understand the verdict, even though the jury was split and the damages awarded are relatively low. The verdict is inconsistent with global scientific and regulatory assessments and we believe we have a strong case on appeal." Moreover, with 9 out of 14 cases, most of the recent trials have been won. Against this backdrop, Bayer intends to continue litigating in court.

The Leverkusen-based company has already settled a large number of the US glyphosate lawsuits, at a cost of billions. Around 113,000 cases have been settled and around 50,000 are still open. Bayer has concentrated primarily on cases in which plaintiffs would have had a better chance of prevailing in view of the threat of litigation. This makes the current series of defeats all the more unsettling for investors.

In addition to glyphosate, Bayer is also facing lawsuits for alleged late effects - alleged pollution of water, air and soil - caused by Monsanto's chemical PCB, which has been banned for decades. Analysts see further billion-euro risks here.

The problems surrounding the glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup and PCBs were brought into the company by former Bayer CEO Werner Baumann in 2018 with the Monsanto takeover, which cost over 60 billion dollars. This was followed in the same year by a first judgment against the DAX-listed company, which set off a wave of lawsuits in the USA. In 2020, Bayer launched a multi-billion dollar program to settle the majority of the lawsuits - without admitting liability.

Since the first glyphostat verdict in 2018 shortly after the Monsanto takeover was completed, Bayer's share price has lost around two thirds of its value. Following pressure from investors, the new CEO Bill Anderson is currently also examining the possibility of splitting up the Group. However, this could prove difficult./mis/nas/jha/