NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) - The Italian government has asked ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, to consider investing in or buying troubled Italian steel producer Ilva, Chief Executive Officer Lakshmi Mittal 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," he said at the Steel Success Strategies conference.
Assessing the company's interest will be a long, drawn-out process, with social, political and economic problems making the situation very complex, Mittal said.
The Ilva complex, in the city of Taranto, is Europe's biggest steel plant by capacity and one of the largest employers in southern Italy.
Its existence is now under threat since it is losing cash at a rate of 60 million to 80 million euros a month, according to Italian steel industry body Federacciai. (Reporting by Allison Martell; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)