By Silvio Cascione
SAO PAULO, (Reuters) - Cia. Siderurgica Nacional
, Brazil's largest diversified steel group,
will probably increase cement output by 36 percent through the
end of 2010, reaching full capacity to feed the country's
insatiable appetite for building materials ahead of hosting the
World Cup and Olympics, its CEO said Monday.
"There's not enough cement in Brazil, The country is
importing cement," Chief Executive Benjamin Steinbruch told
reporters at an event in Sao Paulo.
Brazil is due to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016
Olympics. The government is also investing more than $440
billion in infrastructure through the next four years.
Monthly production will likely hit 150,000 metric tonnes by
the end of the year, from about 110,000 tonnes now, Steinbruch
said. In the first six months, the company, known as CSN, sold
99 percent of its output of 377,000 tonnes, he said.
Steinbruch is pushing CSN to expand from mainly steelmaking
into building materials, logistics, mining and related areas.
CSN has unsuccessfully tried to buy foreign rivals, the
most recent being an attempt this year to acquire Portuguese
cement producer Cimpor. CSN lost out to Brazilian
rivals Votorantim Cimentos and Camargo Correa.
Steinbruch did not say if the company was eyeing any other
targets in the cement industry.
The company's common shares fell 0.5 percent to 27.11 reais
Monday. The shares are flat for the year.
CSN entered the cement business last year by opening its
own plant in Rio de Janeiro state.
CSN has plans to build three more cement plants in Brazil
to increase annual output capacity to about 5.4 million tonnes
(Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal)