Holcim has agreed to sell its business in Brazil to Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) for an enterprise value of $1.025 billion in a move the world's largest cement maker said would help shift its focus.

"This divestment is another step in our transformation to become the global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions giving us the flexibility to continue investing in attractive growth opportunities," Holcim chief executive Jan Jenisch said today.

Reuters had reported that Brazilian steelmaker CSN's cement unit was close to acquiring the Swiss group's assets in the country.

The Swiss company has been reorganising its business, including a number of divestments.

It is trying to diversify away from its core business of cement and aggregates to focus more on building technology as it increases emphasis on sustainability.

In January, it announced a $3.4 billion deal to buy roofing business Firestone Building Products from Japan's Bridgestone Corporation, its biggest acquisition in more than a decade.

It said the sale to CSN in Brazil would significantly reduce its debt ratio, helping it to reinvest in the business segment it has been growing following the Firestone acquisition.

The divestment includes Holcim's five integrated cement plants, four grinding stations, six aggregates sites and 19 ready-mix concrete facilities.

The deal is in line with CSN's interest to acquire cement firms in a fragmented Brazil market.

Its cement unit in June bought smaller rival Elizabeth Cimentos for $218m.

Its planned IPO was shelved in July due to market conditions, but CSN still expects to list and raise money to fund deals.

Cement sales have grown sharply in Brazil this year on higher demand for real estate. According to industry group SNIC, total sales in the first eight months of the year rose 11.4% to 43.4 million tonnes.