(Adds investment plan, steel price hike, market growth forecast)
By Alberto Alerigi
SAO PAULO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Cia Siderúrgica Nacional SA , Brazil’s second-largest producer of flat steel products, said on Thursday it was considering selling its preferential shares in larger rival Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA.
The sale would help CSN meet it meet its goal of cutting debt to three times EBITDA this year, the company’s Chief Executive Benjamin Steinbruch and other executives said in a call with analysts.
CSN can raise 3 billion reais from the sale of assets, such as the Usiminas shares, and is in the final stages of selling its German unit SWT, the executives said.
The company is close to sealing a $1 billion iron ore streaming contract, and plans to invest $1.5 billion this year and somewhat more next year, depending on its deleveraging plan, Steinbruch said.
The steelmaker is seeing demand on Brazil’s domestic steel market retreat in the first quarter, but expects a recovery in the second quarter, the executives said.
CSN will increase its steel prices by 10-15 percent on March 25, following a hike between 6 percent and 9 percent last month, Commercial Director Luis Martinez said. He forecast growth of at least 10 percent in steel sales in Brazil this year. (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Christian Plumb and Tom Brown)