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Nufarm shares plunge after Monsanto ordered to pay $289M in cancer trial

A Californian court finding that a Monsanto weedkiller caused a school groundskeeper's cancer has sent shares in Nufarm Ltd, an Australian maker of a similar product, tumbling 10% on Aug. 13, Reuters reported.

The jury at San Francisco's Superior Court of California on Aug. 10 ordered Monsanto Co. to pay $289 million in damages. It awarded $250 million in punitive and $39 million in compensatory damages, Reuters reported.

The jury said Monsanto, owned by Germany's Bayer Aktiengesellschaft, failed to warn customers about cancer risks from glyphosate-based weedkillers, including Roundup.

Macquarie Bank analysts estimate Nufarm earns about a fifth of its revenue from products containing glyphosate, the world’s most widely-used herbicide, Reuters reported.

Monsanto, which faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the U.S., refuted claims that glyphosate leads to cancer and said scientific studies prove the chemical safe for human use. Monsanto in a statement said it would appeal the verdict.

A Nufarm spokeswoman declined immediate comment.