Air France must be main Alitalia partner: CEO Intesa Sanpaolo

ROME Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:08am EDT

An Alitalia plane approaches to land at Fiumicino international airport in Rome October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi

An Alitalia plane approaches to land at Fiumicino international airport in Rome October 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Max Rossi

ROME (Reuters) - Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) must be the main partner of struggling Italian carrier Alitalia, said Carlo Messina, chief executive officer of Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI), one of Alitalia's main shareholders on Wednesday.

Air France-KLM now owns a 25 percent stake in Alitalia, but if it does not take part in a 300-million-euro ($413.09 million)capital increase its stake will be diluted. Intesa Sanpaolo has already contributed to the capital increase.

"There must be an agreement with an industrial partner," Messina told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Rome, adding that the partner "must be Air France".

($1 = 0.7262 euros)

(Reporting by Stefano Bernabei; writing by Steve Scherer)

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