Biotech giant Aventis and Schering AG have settled on a valuation but are still waiting for a satisfactory bid for their joint venture company Aventis CropScience.

Earlier this year, Aventis had commented that the market tended to value agrochemical companies at a seven-times multiple of its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation).

Recently however Klaus Pohle, CFO at Schering, is believed to have valued the company at a multiple of nine or ten times its EBITDA value. Judging by 2000's EBITDA, this values Aventis Crop Science at between around €4761m and €5290m. This year's financial estimates would drive that figure higher and Juergen Dormann, CEO of Aventis, admitted that a bid had not been placed in this scale.

There are still three or four bidders potentially in the running, however. Market analysts have named these as Bayer AG, BASF AG and Dow Chemical Co.

The CropScience unit has been available since April, when Schering finally said it would consider offers. Aventis is known to be aiming to divest the company by early 2002 at the latest but revealed on Tuesday that it has not yet ruled out an initial public offering for the business.