MILAN Jan 4 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
materialised from the negotiations.
($1 = 0.7346 euros)
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Sophie Hares)