The pesticide giant is getting a £ 1 billion bailout despite a huge dividend plan
Chemical manufacturers BASF and Bayer have received massive Covid-19 grants from the UK government just weeks after announcing plans to distribute billions in dividends to shareholders.
The world’s largest chemical company, BASF, which manufactures agricultural, industrial and automotive products in its eight UK plants, has received £ 1 billion in grants – by far the highest payout ever agreed under the UK program.
The news comes just a few weeks before BASF shareholders vote on a proposal pay more than three times their dividends for the company, confirmed the chemical giant opposite Unearthed.
Meanwhile, Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018 and is itself one of the biggest players in the industry, received £ 600 million – the same amount that troubled airlines Ryanair and easyJet received with a lot of noise.
The Bayer bailout package, published in its latest this afternoon by the Bank of England To update on its COVID corporate finance facility, happened just weeks after shareholders authorized a plan to pay dividends worth £ 2.75 billion.
When contacting Unearthed To see if the dividends have already been paid, Bayer did not respond.
The bank’s Covid-19 funds come with no conditions, but Unearthed understands that companies are expected to be “restrained” in paying dividends and board members’ compensation.
Both BASF and Bayer have their headquarters in Germany and are listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
Simon Rawson, Director of Corporate Engagement at ShareAction, said, “Companies need to recognize the interests of all of their stakeholders, not just shareholders. This also includes their responsibility towards their employees, their communities and the environment.
“Wherever they receive taxpayers’ money, society’s expectations are rightly higher. It’s hard to see how companies can justify high dividend payments in the current situation.
“Economic stimulus packages must support a green recovery with stringent environmental regulations for these chemical and pesticide companies to ensure our planet is not overheated, polluted, and biodiversity-free.”
So far, 53 companies have received government relief totaling £ 16.25 billion, according to the Bank of England’s latest update.
Polluting industries such as airlines, auto companies, and oil and gas services are among the largest recipients of government loans.
Ryanair and easyJet have each raised $ 600 million under the program.
Five automakers were also on BofE’s emergency credit list, with Nissan receiving £ 600m, Toyota and Rolls Royce £ 300m and Honda £ 75m. In total, the auto industry receives just over £ 1.6 billion.
Even oil and gas services companies like Baker Hughes (£ 600 million) and Schlumberger (£ 150 million) receive huge sums of emergency loans.