Coordination against BAYER-Dangers e.V.
BAYER's Takeover of MONSANTO
A Black Day for World Nutrition
The worst case scenario has happened: BAYER is going to take over MONSANTO for $ 66 billion, creating the largest agro-conglomerate in the world by far. Based on the financial figures of 2015, both companies combined reach a turnover of $ 23.1 billion. No one else from the sector can compete with that. The freshly married couples SYNGENTA/ChemChina and Dupont/Dow only make 14.8 and 14.6 billion, and BASF in the fourth place is far behind at 5.8 billion. Together, BAYER and MONSANTO reach a market share of just over 25 per cent for pesticides and just over 30 per cent for seeds for genetically manipulated and conventional arable crops. When only GM plants are considered, the two companies combined even reach far more than 90 per cent, giving them a clear monopol position.
Toni Michelmann of the office of the Coordination against BAYER Dangers (Coordination gegen BAYER-Gefahren, CBG) criticises: 'BAYER's takeover of MONSANTO means a new extreme of the concentration in the agro market. Key elements of the food chain are now in the hands of one single company. Farmers will have to prepare for higher prices and will also have fewer choices. In addition, the innovation lag in the sector is likely to grow worse, especially for herbicides.' SumOfUs, an initiative for consumer protection, also spoke out against the MONSANTO purchase. 'The takeover is a threat to our food supply and to all farmers in the world,' says Anne Isakowitsch. 'It is therefore not surprising that more than 500,000 of our members signed a petition against the takeover. It's all the more outrageous that the takeover now seems to be cut-and-dried, flying in the face of all consumer interests.'
Michelmann announced that the CBG would use the MONSANTO tribunal, which will take place in The Hague in October, to connect with the various MONSANTO initiatives and realign anti-corporate resistance, now focussing on BAYER. The Coordination is planning its first joint actions for the annual stockholders' meeting of the Leverkusen-based multinational company, which will take place in the Cologne Exhibition Centre (Kölner Messehallen) on 28th April 2017. 'It's probably not possible to get through the list of speakers in a day. BAYER might want to reserve 29th April as well to be on the safe side,' is Michelmann's advice to the global player. He also announced a 'March against BAYER' towards Leverkusen in North Rhine Westphalia, where BAYER is based.
'The conglomerate had better get ready. There will be more pressure on a business policy that pretends to fight hunger but focusses on soy and maize monocultures for the troughs of factory farming and, at the same time, endangers important pollinators of arable crops, such as bees, through pesticides. There will be more pressure on a business policy that concentrates on risk technologies such as genetic engineering and brings more and more poison into the fields instead of looking for alternatives,' the chemist declares.
The Coordination's opinion is that political action is required as well. This must not be limited to a few token acts by the EU Commission for Competition. A few small conditions such as giving up cotton trading or selling some types of pesticides are not enough, especially considering the fact that BASF is already keen on such additional purchases. Politicians must also consider the consequences for employment and taxes. It must never be allowed to happen that BAYER deducts the acquisition from its taxes, driving local areas such as Leverkusen even further into the red. Possible attempts of the company to reduce the debts associated with the deal through job destruction or rationalisation must also be excluded right from the start.
Axel Köhler-Schnura from the board of the CBG concludes: 'The cynical poker game for MONSANTO, which is based on nothing but greed for profit, shows once again that world nutrition is too serious an issue to leave it to the agro giants. That is why the Coordination against BAYER Dangers maintains that the conglomerates must be put under public control.'