BERLIN—Germany’s

Bayer
AG


BAYRY -3.76%

Wednesday laid out formidable gross sales and revenue targets in its newest effort to persuade the market it’s critical about boosting earnings, lowering debt and stopping a downward spiral in its inventory value that has put administration beneath heavy strain.

The chemical compounds and prescribed drugs firm is coping with a string of long-term challenges and the fallout from its latest acquisition of Monsanto Co., a deal that was designed to strengthen Bayer’s strategic place however ended up spooking buyers.

“We’re not joyful in any respect with the latest growth of the corporate and the inventory,” Chief Government Werner Baumann mentioned in London on the firm’s first gathering with buyers since taking up Monsanto this summer time. “Your disappointment is our disappointment and all of us will do all the things we are able to to deliver the worth of our firm again into the inventory.”

Traders and analysts had been ready for Wednesday’s occasion to supply particulars about how Bayer deliberate to repair operational issues in its medicine companies and reap the advantages of its $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto.

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“Your disappointment is our disappointment,” Bayer CEO Werner Baumann, pictured earlier this year, said to a gathering of investors in London Wednesday.

“Your disappointment is our disappointment,” Bayer CEO Werner Baumann, pictured earlier this yr, mentioned to a gathering of buyers in London Wednesday.


Picture:

wolfgang rattay/Reuters

An August jury verdict granting a plaintiff excessive damages towards Monsanto raised doubts in some buyers in regards to the attraction of the deal. Bayer shares have misplaced roughly 30% because the jury dominated Monsanto weedkillers containing the chemical glyphosate had induced the plaintiff’s most cancers. Traders worry a protracted authorized battle with an unsure consequence will eat time and assets and find yourself in pricey payouts for Bayer.

Mr. Baumann, who brokered the Monsanto acquisition simply days after changing into CEO in 2016, mentioned Bayer would face roughly a dozen new trials in 2019 and reaffirmed the corporate’s conviction that glyphosate was secure to make use of and that Bayer stood good possibilities of profitable in court docket. However he was fast to maneuver on to matters whose resolutions aren’t within the arms of U.S. jurors.

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Shares took some respite on Wednesday as analysts have been positively stunned by a few of Bayer’s medium-term targets. In early afternoon commerce, shares have been buying and selling 1.3% increased towards a decrease DAX index.

Bayer mentioned it aimed to develop gross sales by 4% subsequent yr and between 4% and 5% within the following two years because it turns round its consumer-care enterprise, overhauls analysis and growth at its pharmaceuticals enterprise and integrates Monsanto into its crop-science enterprise. The goal excludes foreign money shifts.

The corporate, primarily based in Leverkusen, Germany, additionally desires to spice up earnings earlier than curiosity, taxes, depreciation and amortization, excluding one-off objects, to €16 billion ($18.2 billion) in 2022 from a pro-forma of €11.5 billion this yr and develop free-cash-flow era by 18% on common annually to a complete of about €23 billion between 2019 and 2022, two objectives that beat consensus expectations.

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Markus Mayer, analyst at Baader Financial institution AG, mentioned the free-cash-flow goal was a constructive shock.

Bayer’s targets assume drastic cost-cutting measures the corporate introduced final month. The corporate caught buyers without warning in late November with a plan to chop 10% of its world workforce, which Mr. Baumann mentioned was probably the most complete job-cutting plan within the firm’s 155-year historical past. Bayer additionally plans to promote its animal-health enterprise and foot-care model Dr. Scholl’s and sunscreen merchandise Coppertone because it desires to focus assets on its core medicine and agriculture operations.

Bayer mentioned it might use the upper money move and a few proceeds from asset gross sales to extend dividends sooner or later and would even take into account share buybacks, unbiased of how the glyphosate instances end up. The group additionally desires to deliver down internet debt, which is predicted to succeed in €36 billion by the tip of the yr because of the Monsanto buy.

Write to Ruth Bender at [email protected]

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