UPDATE 1-Italy asks ArcelorMittal to invest in troubled steel plant -CEO

Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:09am EDT

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NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) - The Italian government has asked ArcelorMittal SA to consider investing in or buying troubled Italian steel producer Ilva, the chief executive officer of the world's largest steelmaker said on Tuesday.

"We have been invited by the Italian government to look at it. That does not mean that we are going to acquire it," CEO Lakshmi Mittal said on the sidelines of the Steel Success Strategies conference in New York.

He played down the potential for a speedy decision though, saying it will be a long, drawn-out process with social, political and economic problems making the situation very complex.

Among other parties which have showed some interest in buying a stake in the loss-making plant are Italian steel companies Marcegaglia and Arvedi and Indian steel producer Jindal, sources said.

The Ilva complex, Europe's biggest steel plant by capacity and one of the largest employers in southern Italy, has been under special administration since June last year.

Its existence is now under threat since it is losing cash at a rate of 60 million to 80 million euros ($81.7-$108.9 million) a month, according to Italian steel industry body Federacciai. ($1 = 0.7345 euros) (Reporting by Allison Martell; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Marguerita Choy)

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