Chrysler set to raise dollars 2bn

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CHRYSLER, the US car maker threatened with bankruptcy only a year ago, stands to raise more than dollars 2bn from an offering of new shares, which were snapped up yesterday by investors around the world.

The offering was fully subscribed, despite its pricing late on Tuesday at dollars 2.50 a share higher than originally announced and a last-minute decision to add an additional 6 million shares to the original issue of 40 million.

With brisk trading in the secondary market, the underwriters of the offering, led by CS First Boston, are also expected to exercise their option to buy another 15 per cent to cover over-allotments, which would bring the total number of shares sold to 52 million.

The offering, which ranks with a General Motors' sale of common stock last May as the largest ever in the United States, 'did particularly well overseas', said Richard Kaufman, First Boston's managing director for equity capital markets.

The international tranche of the sale was increased to 9 million from 8 million shares.

One of Chrysler's strengths, analysts say, is that it has no exposure to the European market, now in recession while the US recovery appears to be gathering steam.

Chrysler's share price - dollars 38.75 - has doubled in the past four months as sales of its cars, small vans and Jeeps have boomed, despite the fact that an equity offering usually depresses a company's share price.

Last week it reported strong profits for the final quarter of 1992 - the only one of Detroit's three car makers to do so.