UPDATE 1-Russia to use national wealth fund to buy new Aeroflot shares - minister

(Adds details, background)

MOSCOW, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Russia plans to tap its rainy day fund to buy into an additional share offering by state-controlled airline Aeroflot, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday.

Russia’s biggest airline, which has been hit by the coronavirus crisis, is preparing to issue up to 1.7 billion new shares in the secondary share offering (SPO), pencilled in for the next month.

The state plans to buy part of the new share issue as it aims to retain at least its existing 51.2% stake in Aeroflot, with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and state-controlled bank VTB also taking part, sources have told Reuters.

Siluanov, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, said the state would use the National Wealth Fund (NWF) to buy into the SPO.

He declined to say how many shares Aeroflot planned to offer and how much would be raised in total. Sources have told Reuters the total share issue was aimed at injecting 80 billion roubles ($1.1 billion) of cash into Aeroflot.

The deal will be open to private investors as well, sources said this week, as the state wants the company to raise as much as it can.

$1 = 74.9102 roubles Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Andrey Ostroukh and Katya Golubkova; Editing by Catherine Evans and Mark Potter