The Corona pandemic has so far done little to the pharmaceutical and agrochemicals group Bayer, but Group CEO Werner Baumann sees risks.
“We are in the midst of a crisis, the further course of which cannot be estimated at the moment,” said the manager at the Group’s Annual General Meeting. Due to the pandemic, the shareholder meeting was held completely online for the first time. This had not previously happened at a Dax group.
After a pre-distributed manuscript, Baumann emphasized that it is crucial for the Group to “keep the supply chains as resilient as possible” in the coming months and thus to secure the business operations.
Among the uncertainties Bayer will face in the coming months were, not least, the question of how the further course of the crisis will affect the financial markets or the solvency of Bayer customers.
It was also difficult to predict the impact of the crisis on demand for Bayer products. “It may be that the demand for some of our pharmaceutical products decreases if patients cannot go to the doctor and planned treatments are postponed,” said Baumann. In the case of non-prescription products, it is still uncertain whether the current high demand is mainly stockpiling or, in fact, increased consumption.
In agriculture, it is also unclear how demand will develop. This applies, for example, to crops that are also used for biofuels. A realistic assessment of the positive and negative effects of the pandemic “will only be possible later in the year,” Baumann said.