Vienna. "The annual Annual General Meeting is not a routine AGM," said the same chairman of the Supervisory Board Werner Weining yesterday. He was right. Not only he but also Werner Bauman, Bayer CEO, had great difficulty answering many of the issues raised by investors.
How can it be that the top management has erred the legal risks that the purchase of the US pesticide maker Monsanto made quite wrong before gaining, for example, he wanted to introduce the investment company Union Investment to the two managers. "Why must Monsanto, the most controversial company in the industry, simply have to be?" Asked analyst Jan Verning. As a match against Damocles, now there are about 13,400 complaints about an alleged overhaul of the weed killers of the German group. How much the termination of these procedures Bayer will cost, no one can estimate reputable.
This is one of the main reasons why the share price has almost halved since the takeover. "The lawsuits and the first verdicts for glyphosate weigh heavily on our company and disturb many people," admitted Bowman. "There is nothing to shine." He defended the acquisition of Monsanto, as well as Wenning, however: The true value of the company is not reflected in the current price. In the long run, buying is a worthwhile and strategically real step. Therefore, the whole board would talk about it at that time.
Will the board be released?
Whether the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board managed to persuade the shareholders and their representatives with their arguments will be displayed in the vote for release from both bodies. Already in the period to the annual assembly, proxy advisers and major shareholders announced they would vote against the release or in any case refrain.
Therefore, it was discussed whether it is better to remove this item from the agenda and to vote for the release on a later date. But the chairman of the supervisory board Vening defended this plan. Bowman and he had said several times that they "acted conscientiously when taking Monsanto" at any time. This was also confirmed by independent legal opinion. At the time of the press, it was still uncertain whether the shareholders rejected the dismissal.
("Die Presse", printed edition, April 27, 2019)