|More on Bayer class action / Bayer to cut 1,500 jobs in CropScience unit (29/8/2006)|
1.Six State Class Action Filed against Bayer CropScience
EXCERPTS: "Bayer's actions have resulted in an unprecedented price drop financially impacting all rice farmers."
Cohen, Milstein, a Washington, DC based firm... [previoulsy] successfully represented corn farmers in a class action against Aventis for contaminating the corn market with StarLink genetically modified corn, which had also not been approved for human consumption. (item 1)
NB info at end of item one on how to obatin copy of the complaint
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 28, 2006--Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, PLLC announced today that it has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of rice farmers in Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and California against Bayer CropScience for contaminating the U.S. rice crop. Plaintiffs filed their suit this afternoon in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas in Little Rock. The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced that genetically modified rice, developed and tested by Bayer, had been found in samples taken from commercial long grain rice. Bayer's genetically modified rice has not been approved for human consumption.
The legal complaint alleges that Bayer failed to prevent their unapproved rice from entering the food chain. As a result of Bayer's actions, Japan and the European Union have placed strict limits on U.S. rice imports and the prices for U.S. rice have dropped dramatically.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an injunction requiring Bayer to clean up the contamination from Bayer's genetically modified rice. According to the USDA, Rice production in the U.S. is valued at about $1.9 billion. The market price of U.S. rice has dropped approximately ten percent since Bayer first announced that unapproved rice had been found in the food chain.
Richard S. Lewis, a partner and environmental legal expert with the Cohen, Milstein firm, explained that, "Our clients feel that Bayer should have taken stricter steps when growing this genetically modified rice to prevent it from contaminating the commercial rice market. Bayer's actions have resulted in an unprecedented price drop financially impacting all rice farmers."
Cohen, Milstein, a Washington, DC based firm, is one of the largest law firms in the country devoted exclusively to representing plaintiffs. Previously the firm successfully represented corn farmers in a class action against Aventis for contaminating the corn market with StarLink genetically modified corn, which had also not been approved for human consumption. Ralph Cloar, Jr. of the Cloar Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas is also serving as co-counsel in the case.
A copy of the complaint is available and can be emailed to members of the media, please contact James Pizzirusso at Cohen, Milstein 202 589-2257 or [email protected]
2.Bayer to cut 1,500 jobs in CropScience unit
BERLIN - German chemical and drug maker Bayer AG said today that its second-quarter net profit increased by 11.3 percent, helped by sales growth at its health care unit.
Bayer also announced a restructuring plan for its CropScience unit that will cut about 1,500 jobs by the end of 2009, mainly in North America. It also said a number of sites worldwide will be either restructured or closed. It did not identify any sites to be closed or sites where jobs would be cut.
In June, Bayer CropScience's Kansas City manufacturing operation said it expected to cut about 100 jobs from the work force of 550 at its Hawthorne Road manufacturing operation. The cuts were part of an initiative the company called 'Project Renaissance' and had been expected to start in July. It was not immediately known whether those jobs were part of the 1,500 cuts announced today.
Bayer today said sales at CropScience, the company's crop protection unit, slipped by 1.6 percent. Bayer cited a 'difficult market environment' for the unit, which has suffered from modest demand for fungicides due to dry weather in Europe.
The company announced a restructuring program for the unit that is aimed at saving some $384 million a year and will 'sustainably shrink the company's infrastructure and process costs.'
The unit employs 18,800 people worldwide, including 9,550 in Europe and 3,100 in North America.
Bayer's Kansas City facility specializes in manufacturing a variety of crop protection products, including herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. Its key products include an herbicide called Sencor, used to control weeds in such crops as soybeans and potatoes, and a fungicide called Folicur, used to control diseases in crops such as peanuts and soybeans.
Plant employees include manufacturing technicians, engineering and maintenance specialists, chemists and chemical engineers.
In its earnings report, Leverkusen-based Bayer said net income for the April-June period was euro452 million (US$578 million), up from euro406 million a year earlier. That was slightly short of the euro461 million (US$590 million) analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had predicted.
Total sales rose by 5.8 percent to euro7.07 billion (US$9.04 billion) from euro6.69 billion. Bayer's core health care unit posted the strongest advance, with sales increasing by 12.7 percent..