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Italy's Alitalia seeks more bank funding: paper

An Alitalia plane is parked on the tarmac at Fiumicino international airport in Rome December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi
An Alitalia plane is parked on the tarmac at Fiumicino international airport in Rome December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi

MILAN (Reuters) - Alitalia has asked banks to extend an existing loan agreement by 50 million euros ($68 million), daily Il Messaggero reported on Saturday, in a sign the troubled Italian airline may again be facing a liquidity crunch just weeks after a capital increase.

The paper said Chief Executive Gabriele Del Torchio had written a letter to UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo asking for additional funding.

The request comes on top of the 200 million euros in bank loans already agreed on in October as part of a 500 million euro government-engineered rescue package.

The deal was meant to keep the loss-making carrier in the air as it seeks a new strategic partner that would invest and make it profitable again.

Alitalia could not immediately be reached for comment.

The airline raised 300 million euros in an emergency capital increase last month, which analysts said would keep it flying for the next six months.

The carrier is currently in talks with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways on a possible investment, but analysts said it could take weeks, if not months, before anything concrete materialized from the negotiations.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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