The last scheduled US trial this year over German chemical firm Bayer’s Roundup weedkiller has been postponed at the request of both parties, indicating that settlement talks may be progressing, Bloomberg reports.

Bayer faces lawsuits from more than 18,000 plaintiffs in the USA claiming its glyphosate-based herbicide causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The company had already lost three trials and been ordered to pay millions of dollars in damages, but had appealed against the verdicts.

Bloomberg wrote on 6 October that the delay to the scheduled trial in St Louis, following two other postponements in August, would give the German drug and chemical giant breathing room to pursue settlement talks.

Bayer had lost more than US$30bn or a third of its market value since it acquired US agrochemicals company Monsanto – Roundup’s original manufacturer – for US$63bn last year.
Settling all the Roundup cases could cost about US$9bn, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mustaq Rahaman, with other estimates ranging from US$2.5-$20bn, the news agency wrote.

Major investors had been urging Bayer to consider a settlement.

Bayer said that it was working with the St Louis court to determine a new trial date.

It maintained that Roundup was safe, pointing to “the conclusions of leading health regulators in the USA and around the world that glyphosate is not carcinogenic”.

Bayer/Monsanto supplies farmers across the world with crop protection products and biotech crop seeds such as soyabeans, corn, cotton, wheat and canola.