EU court rejects complaint against HSH Nordbank bailout

LUXEMBOURG, Nov 12 (Reuters) - A European Union court dismissed a complaint on Thursday against the European Commission’s 2011 decision to approve the bailout shipping lender Germany’s HSH Nordbank

The General Court of the European Union, the EU’s second-highest court, said it had rejected the arguments of two minority shareholders, who had seen their holdings reduced by a capital increase.

HSH Nordbank, majority-owned by the regional states of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, turned to its owners after risky assets turned sour in 2008 and it got hit by the slump in global trade in the wake of the financial crisis.

The bank benefited from a 3 billion euro recapitalisation, a 10 billion euro general guarantee underwritten by the regional governments and a 17 billion euro liquidity guarantee granted by the German special fund for financial market stability.

The Commission cleared the measures under certain conditions in 2011.

HSH has since agreed a restructuring deal with the Commission, which will allow it to offload assets worth 6.2 billion euros -- mainly non-performing ship loans -- from the bank’s balance sheet to a run-down vehicle set up by its owners. (Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Arno Schuetze)