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BAYER'S CFO OUTLINES FINANCES TO FUND MONSANTO ACQUISITION
Dow Jones reports:

Bayer AG Chief Financial Officer Johannes Dietsch said Wednesday the company will stick to its plan to raise $19 billion in equity before moving on to a rights and bond issue, providing more detail on the financing for the German pharmaceutical giant's takeover of U.S. seed maker Monsanto Co.

"We want to do the equity first before we enter the bond markets," Mr. Dietsch said during a call with analysts. Should the company decide to go for a large or "very large" rights issue, Bayer would wait until there was more visibility on the regulatory outlook for the deal, he said.

Bayer said it was confident that the planned $57 billion acquisition of Monsanto would pass regulatory hurdles by the end of the year, despite delays with U.S. and European antitrust authorities.

The purchase price for Monsanto needs to be paid in dollars, Mr. Dietsch said. The company plans to issue corporate bonds in dollars and will also consider other currencies.

There is a certain level of currency risk around the equity part of the financing, even though the company has a number of currency hedges in place. Bayer is raising equity in Europe and is "relatively exposed" should the euro weaken further against the dollar, Mr. Dietsch said. The euro traded at $1.055 against the dollar on Wednesday, according to FactSet data.

Bayer previously issued EUR4 billion ($4.21 billion) of mandatory convertible bonds as part of the financing for the Monsanto deal.

The CFO's comments came as Bayer reported a 26% decline in net profit from a year earlier due to one-time expenses, such as the costs for the bridge loan for the Monsanto transaction.

Net profit fell to EUR453 million in the three months to end-December from EUR613 million in the same period a year earlier.

In addition, changes to the U.S. tax code as proposed by House Republicans could be beneficial for the company, Mr. Dietsch said.

"We are moderately optimistic that the tax reform, especially lowering the official tax rate down to 20%, will be ultimately beneficial for Bayer," he said. The U.S. corporate tax rate is currently 35%.

However, potential changes to the deductibility of interest rate expenses might have a negative impact on Bayer's tax situation in the U.S., he said, adding that it was too early to comment on possible changes to Bayer's U.S. investments.


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