October 23, 2013 / 4:55 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-China's HNA Group says not interested in Alitalia tie-up

(Recasts with denial from Chinese parent company HNA)

BEIJING, Oct 23 (Reuters) - HNA Group, the parent company of China's No.4 airline Hainan Airlines, denied a newspaper report on Wednesday saying it was interested in a tie-up with loss-making Italian carrier Alitalia.

A spokesman from HNA said the group was not interested in taking over any European airline after its purchase of French carrier Blue Eagle last year.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera had reported that Alitalia was in preliminary talks with Hainan for a possible partnership, citing sources close to the matter.

A spokesman for Hainan, contacted by Reuters, said earlier on Wednesday it was unaware of any contacts with Alitalia.

At the weekend, another Italian newspaper, Il Messaggero, wrote in an unsourced report that Hainan had expressed an interest in Alitalia in a letter to adviser Rothschild.

Alitalia is working on a 300 million euro capital increase as it strives to avoid bankruptcy. Its biggest shareholder, Air France-KLM, has not said whether or not it will buy into the rights issue.

Alitalia was not available for comment. (Reporting by Fang Yan, additional reporting by Valentina Consiglio in Rome, editing by Anthony Barker)

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