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DETROIT -- Chrysler Corp. employees who participated in the first three years of the firm's Employee Stock Ownership Plan each now own 159 shares of company stock, the automaker said Monday.

Based on Friday's closing price of $28 per share, the stock is worth about $4,452. The accounts of 68,000 participating Chrysler employees havebeen credited with 19.6 shares each of Chrysler common stock.

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The ESOP was set up under the Federal Chrysler Loan Guarantee Act of 1979. The act requires that Chrysler donate $162.5 million in stock over a four-year period ending June 30, 1984.

The stock is held in trust for the employees until they retire or leave Chrysler.

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