(Bloomberg) -- Bayer AG forecast another year of falling profit and opted to stick with its conglomerate structure for now as it works to get on top of billions of dollars of legal woes that threaten the company’s long-term future.

The German crop sciences to pharma business, whose value has plunged by more than 70% since the $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto, said that splitting the business might seem like a quick fix to its multitude of problems, but it would likely make them worse.

New Chief Executive Officer Bill Anderson drew a parallel between the state of Bayer and a skateboarding accident that shattered his leg. The immediate need, he said, is to fix the damage, listing four “broken areas” that include thousands of lawsuits claiming that Bayer’s blockbuster weed-killer Roundup causes cancer. 

The stock fell as much as 3.1% in Frankfurt trading, touching the lowest level in more than a decade and extending the 51% decline of the past 12 months. 

Core earnings may drop as low as €5.10 ($5.53) a share in 2024 from €6.39 last year, Bayer said in a statement, lower than analysts anticipated. Sales are also expected to decline. 

“On the question of structure, our answer is ‘not now’ – and this shouldn’t be misunderstood as ‘never,’” Anderson said on Tuesday, confirming news previously reported by Bloomberg. “Our priority is on tackling our challenges, boosting performance, and creating strategic flexibility.” 

Investors will probably renew calls for a separation of the consumer-health division if Bayer shares don’t recover “noticeably and permanently,” Markus Manns, a portfolio manager with Union Investment, a major shareholder, said by email.

Anderson is working to win back the faith of investors burned by years of poor performance and the damaging effects of the Monsanto deal. 

Backing Roundup 

The transaction saddled the company with massive debt and legal attacks against Roundup. Anderson on Tuesday called the herbicide safe and essential, saying threats to its availability jeopardize the livelihood of farmers.  

The Texas native has already instituted operational changes designed to speed up decision-making, cutting layers of management and eliminating thousands of jobs. 

“We can imagine greater difficulties in implementing the restructuring program because internal resistance could be more significant than Bill Anderson imagines,” analysts at Oddo wrote in a note.  

The CEO has slashed the dividend by 95% — the most dramatic cut in Bayer’s post-war history — and proposed three new independent candidates for the supervisory board, including activist investor Jeffrey Ubben. 

Anderson also cited Bayer’s high debt load, bureaucracy and loss of patent protection for best-selling medicines like the blood-thinner Xarelto as “broken areas” that need fixing.

Both sales and profit fell last year and Bayer had to revise its guidance in July amid low prices for agriculture products, including Roundup. Ebitda before special items dropped 13% to €11.7 billion, the company said. The outlook for another decline comes as a result of continued low prices for agriculture products and fresh competition for its top medicines.

--With assistance from Naomi Kresge.

(Updates with shares in third paragraph)

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