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Bayer reaches agreement to postpone more glyphosate lawsuits for settlement talks

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Germany's Bayer has agreed with plaintiffs to postpone its next two US lawsuits over the alleged cancer-causing effects of its glyphosate-based weed killers to allow more time for talks on a settlement.

[FRANKFURT] Germany's Bayer has agreed with plaintiffs to postpone its next two US lawsuits over the alleged cancer-causing effects of its glyphosate-based weed killers to allow more time for talks on a settlement.

The company, which is facing 42,700 US plaintiffs, is widely expected to eventually buy itself out of the litigation, with analysts currently estimating the size of a future settlement at US$8-US$12 billion.

Bayer agreed with the plaintiff to delay for about six months a case in the California Superior Court for Lake County scheduled for Jan 15, a company spokesman said in a written statement.

A second case due to begin on Jan 21 in the California Superior Court for Alameda County would also be postponed until a date yet to be determined.

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Bayer said the postponements would provide more time for it and representatives of the plaintiffs to "engage constructively in the mediation process".

The company, which acquired the weed killer brands last year as part of a US$63 billion takeover of Monsanto, has ruled out pulling the products from the US market, citing regulators and extensive research which have found glyphosate to be safe.

It will early next year appeal to reverse the first three US court rulings that awarded tens of millions of dollars to each plaintiff.

Other trials initially scheduled for this year have already been postponed. 

REUTERS