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Chrysler asks suppliers for grace on billings

Chrysler Corporation is asking supliers to accept the late payments on December billings "as a cash conservation measure," company officials say. The No. 3 automaker, which reported loses of nearly $1.5 billion in the first nine months of 1980, said it would pay suppliers 18 percent annual interest on the deferred payments. Word of the plea came just before Chrysler's scheduled appearance before the federal Loan Guarantee Board to update its financial situation. A year ago, Congress approved $1.5 billion in loan guarantees as part of a multibillion-dollar package to help Chrysler stave off bankruptcy. The company has drawn $800 million of that amount, and there are reports it will ask federal officials for another "couple hundred million dollars."

Chrysler officials had been hoping the company would show a profit in the fourth quarter of this year. But it is generally expected now that the automaker will post more losses -- largely because of car sales that have been well below earlier predictions owing to rising interest rates.

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