The France-based company has been the subject of a number of rumours over the past year that have linked it to negotiations with some of the biggest players in the business. The shares were suspended at €43.72 ($68.76) on the Paris Bourse during mid-morning trading, which represented a slight increase on the close of business yesterday and gives the company an estimated value in excess of €1.8bn. Statement pending The company did not elaborate on the reasons for suspending share trading and said it would give no further comment until it releases its official statement on the matter. Although rumors over potential takeover bids have abounded, Clarins has maintained that it wants to remain independent, fuelling speculation over its future all the more. Back in November 2007, the company issued an official statement quashing rumors over takeover bids after it suffered a period of volatility on the stock exchange fuelled by investors speculating over its future. Clarins to remain independent? "In view of persisting rumors surrounding Clarins stock, we want to say once again that the Courtin-Clarins family, a majority shareholder, does not plan to give up control of the group," the statement said. Currently Christian Courtin-Clarins maintains a 65 per cent of the business's capity, along with his brother Olivier, who is responsible for the company's research and development. The family also holds a 78 per cent stake in the voting rights on the company's executive board. Speculation over the company's future began in March last year, when its founder Jacques-Courtin -Clarins died, leaving his son Christian to head up the business.