UPDATE 1-Rhoen-Klinikum shareholders vote again to scrap bylaws

Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:07pm EDT

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* Hurdle for major decisions lowered to 75 pct of capital

* Legal complaints from shareholders pending

* Shareholders also approved 1.7 bln euro share buyback (Adds background)

By Andreas Kröner

FRANKFURT, June 12 (Reuters) - Investors in Germany's Rhoen-Klinikum on Thursday voted again to scrap a requirement in the hospitals chain's bylaws for shareholders holding 90 percent of the capital to approve major decisions, such as mergers and acquisitions.

The vote would lower the hurdle to 75 percent, as is the norm for German listed companies, but there are legal complaints from shareholders pending that will prevent the change from take effect for now.

Shareholders on Thursday also approved plans by the company to return about 1.67 billion euros ($2.27 billion) from the proceeds of the sale of hospitals to shareholders.

Rhoen plans to buy back and cancel 51 percent of its shareholder capital.

Rhoen shareholders voted to remove the clause a year ago but one shareholder, medical supplies maker B. Braun, fought the vote in court because its votes were not counted.

Last month, B. Braun withdrew the complaint but lawsuits from three other unnamed plaintiffs against last year's shareholder meeting are still pending.

B. Braun and unlisted rival hospital chain Asklepios in 2012 year torpedoed Rhoen's attempted tie-up with healthcare group Fresenius, buying enough Rhoen shares between them to have a blocking minority because they feared the emergence of a dominant player in the German hospitals market.

In September last year, Fresenius circumvented their opposition by buying about two-thirds of Rhoen's assets for 3 billion euros ($4.08 billion).

That deal has reduced Rhoen to focusing on mainly to larger clinics such as university teaching hospital Giessen-Marburg.

($1 = 0.7345 Euros) (Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by David Evans)

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