April 28, 2017 / 8:35 AM / 4 months ago

Bayer CEO says Monsanto's reputation is a 'major challenge'

Activists protest against the merger of Germany's pharmaceutical and chemical maker Bayer with U.S. seeds and agrochemicals company Monsanto before Bayer's annual general shareholders meeting in Bonn, Germany, April 28, 2017.Wolfgang Rattay

BONN (Reuters) - Bayer's chief executive acknowledged on Friday that he will face an uphill battle to improve Monsanto's reputation once Bayer completes the takeover of the U.S. seeds and agrochemicals company.

"Monsanto’s image does of course represent a major challenge for us, and it’s not an aspect I wish to play down," Werner Baumann told shareholders at Bayer's annual general meeting.

"Yet we are facing this challenge with all those qualities that have made us what we are today: openness, expertise and responsibility," he added.

Bayer and Monsanto plan to wrap up the $66 billion transaction by the end of 2017. As part of this, Bayer aims to file for European antitrust approval during the second quarter.

Reporting by Patricia Weiss; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Ludwig Burger

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