A spokesman for the State Property Fund, the national privatisation agency, told Reuters that bids had been received from two Ukrainian companies, Frunze-Flora and Nortima, and Russian firm Azot Servis, a unit of Sibur holding.
Norwegian fertilizer company Yara International, which said last week it was interested in bidding together with a Polish and a Libyan companies, appeared finally not to have made an offer.
President Viktor Yushchenko issued a decree last week to block the sale in what analysts said was a clear act to spite Tymoshenko, his rival in a presidential election on Jan. 17.
The government has hoped to raise at least $500 million from the sale.
'I am convinced that the privatisation will go ahead in the scheduled time-frame ... Everything will be fine,' Tymoshenko told journalists.
'The auction commission has opened the envelopes of three participants in the auction ... The financial proposals will be opened at the auctions and they will compete with one another,' said Fund spokeswoman Nina Yavorskaya.
It was unclear what legal status the sale would have if it went ahead over Yushchenko's ban.
'Either the competition will be postponed and the deal will not go through or, if the deal goes through, then there will be a battle in the courts,' said Alexander Paskhaver of the Centre for Economic Development, a Ukrainian think tank.
(Reporting by Yuri Kulikov; writing by Richard Balmforth) Keywords: UKRAINE ODESSA/ (Kiev bureau; tel: +380 44 244 9150; RM: firstname.lastname@example.org) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2009. All rights reserved. The copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters.