UPDATE 1-Russia's Aeroflot rules out buying, or aiding, Alitalia

Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:15am EST

MOSCOW Nov 15 (Reuters) - Aeroflot, the state-controlled Russian airline, on Friday ruled out buying or aiding stricken Italian carrier Alitalia, which is seeking a cash injection to keep flying.

"Aeroflot does not plan to buy Alitalia, nor will it participate in any way in its financing," a representative of the Russian flag carrier told Reuters.

Alitalia's top shareholder, Air France-KLM, on Thursday spurned a plea for cash to rescue Alitalia, saying a new business plan would be insufficient without a write-off of some of its huge debts.

Alitalia, which was privatised in 2008, has been unprofitable for more than a decade and has been stuck in a months-long tussle with Air France-KLM over whether to keep their strategic and financial partnership alive.

Aeroflot has repeatedly been named by Italian officials as a potential backer of Alitalia, but has never publicly confirmed its interest.

Italian officials say they hope they can still find another international airline to invest and save the carrier, but time is running out after Air France-KLM walked away from the 300 million euro ($403 million) call for more cash.

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