A.H. Robins Co.'s board met yesterday to entertain three improved offers for the Richmond pharmaceutical firm, but it adjourned the meeting late in the day without taking any side in the escalating bidding war.

A Robins spokesman said the board adjourned "in order to allow {our} financial advisers to analyze the information presented." He said the board heard in-person presentations from top executives of two of the bidders, Sanofi S.A. and American Home Products Corp., and had a telephone conversation with Robert E. Cawthorne, the chairman of Rorer Group Inc., the third bidder.

Although the board is scheduled to reconvene this morning, the spokesman said, "I can't say whether or not there will be a decision."

Robins, the manufacturer of such over-the-counter products as Robitussin cough medicine and ChapStick lip balm, agreed earlier this month to sell a controlling interest in the company to Sanofi, a French drug maker. But its other two suitors have continued to press their bids to buy the company and bring it out of bankruptcy proceedings in Richmond.

Yesterday, Rorer Group, which is based in Fort Washington, Pa., publicly sweetened its previous bid by offering to give Robins shareholders Rorer stock worth $31 per share -- or about $750 million.

The value of Rorer's previous stock swap offer was within that range, but it was without certain provisions designed to guarantee a minimum stock price at closing.

American Home Products last week upped its offer to $700 million, or $29 a share, and received the important endorsement of a committee of Robins shareholders.

In response to the new round of bidding, Sanofi also gave the board an improved proposal yesterday, promising to guarantee that the value of stock in the new Robins company that would be set up under its proposal would reach $50 in five years, and to make up any shortfall with cash, a source said. That would amount to about $31 per share in current value, according to some estimates.

Despite the improved offers, all three companies continued to receive a cool response from lawyers for the thousands of women who claim injury by the company's Dalkon Shield contraceptive device.

Although each of the three bidders has agreed to set up a court-ordered $2.475 billion trust fund for the claimants, the claimants' lawyers have denounced the offers because they provide immediate payment to shareholders while calling for periodic payments into the trust fund.

"These escalating amounts which are being allocated to shareholders are just the same old story," Murray Drabkin, the lead lawyer for the claimants committee in the bankruptcy case, said yesterday. "The locomotive that is pulling the reorganization is shareholder greed, not victim compensation. ... The victims are entitled to full and prompt compensation before the shareholders."

Meanwhile, representatives of the shareholders committee said they are evaluating the new proposals to see if the committee ought to reconsider its support for the American Home Products offer.

Although it refused to comment specifically on the offers, the shareholders committee indicated that only the Rorer bid approached the value of the American Home Products proposal.

"We think Sanofi is clearly in third place," said Robert M. Miller, the lawyer for the committee. "They just haven't done enough to make their proposal as attractive as the other two."

The endorsements of the two committees are important to the success of any buyout plan, because any plan is subject to a vote among claimants, other creditors and Robins shareholders, and then the approval of U.S. District Judge Robert Merhige in Richmond, who is handling the bankruptcy case.

A court hearing has been scheduled for Thursday on Robins' request to abandon its previous decision to merge with Rorer in favor of the Sanofi proposal, although recent developments could scuttle this schedule.