Local investors willing to rescue Banca Marche-businessman

MILAN, Sept 6 Fri Sep 6, 2013 5:50am EDT

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MILAN, Sept 6 (Reuters) - A group of Italian businessmen is willing to invest in Banca Marche, one of them said on Friday, a day after Moody's downgraded the struggling mid-sized lender saying it would "almost certainly" need external support.

"The idea is to help out and maintain the bank's local ties," Marche businessman Francesco Merloni said on the margins of a conference.

He said that Tod's patron Diego Della Valle was among local enterpreneurs who have expressed their willingness to support the lender.

Banca Marche has been hit by loan losses after the Bank of Italy forced it to massively increase its loan writedowns following an inspection. The central bank has put it under special admninstration.

"We'll see but first the Bank of Italy needs to conclude its inspection," he said.

Asked whether the investors would be able to raise the 300 million euros needed as a capital injection, Merloni said: "In a way or another we can get there."

(Reporting by Valentina Za and Francesca Landini, editing by Lisa Jucca)

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