RICHMOND -- The A.H. Robins Co. has received permission from U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Blackwell N. Shelley to sell its French perfume subsidiary, Parfums Caron, for $18.3 million.

The buyer was Revillon Luxe of Paris. Other bids came in at $18.1 million and $18.2 million, A. Stuart Powell Jr., a consultant who served as a broker for the transaction, testified at a hearing last Friday.

Powell said word spread quickly through the perfume industry last winter that Robins wanted to sell Parfums Caron, leading to about 70 inquiries about the sale.

He said five bidders met the first-round requirement of at least $12 million and that three bid more than $15 million in a second round and more than $18 million in the final round.

G.E.R. Stiles, Robins' senior vice president for finance, said Robins bought Parfums Caron 20 years ago and that the perfume company stopped operating profitably three years ago.

Papers filed with the court showed that in the fiscal year that ended Nov. 30, Parfums Caron's loss was 6.3 percent of its sales.

At present exchange rates, it had about $20.6 million in sales and a loss of about $1.3 million.

Parfums Caron is a subsidiary of A.H. Robins International, which is a subsidiary of A.H. Robins Co., a Richmond-based pharmaceutical firm.

The parent firm has been under Chapter 11 reorganization since August 1985.