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(Adds comments on debt, context)
By Alberto Alerigi
SAO PAULO, April 29 (Reuters) - Brazil's Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN) is open to acquisition opportunities in the cement business, two of its executives said on Thursday.
CSN's cement director Edvaldo Rabelo said CSN is "attentive to opportunities" after mentioning LafargeHolcim's potential divestiture of its assets in the country during a call with analysts.
Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Steinbruch said during the call the company is interested in "potential M&A in the cement business" and could also proceed with the initial public offering of its cements division.
LafargeHolcim CEO Jan Jenisch declined to comment last week on speculation the company was looking to sell its operations in Brazil.
CSN listed its mining division CSN Mineracao in February and used most of the proceeds to reduce debt. The company is working with banks on an initial public offering of its cement division, Reuters has reported.
Steinbruch said the steelmaker plans to reduce its debt ratio during the first half of the year to less than one times its annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of operational profit known as EBITDA.
The company does not intend to allow this ratio to rise again over the medium term and is aiming for an investment grade credit rating, executives told analysts.
They said CSN will raise steel prices again in July and has changed its pricing model to renegotiate contracts every quarter. Steinbruch said revenue should double this year, with higher prices and growth in steel and cement markets. (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi, writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)