Whether yesterday's $1.686 billion asset-backed securities offering by Citibank constitutes one deal or two depends on who you ask.

But if it is one deal, it could be the year's biggest to date.

First Boston Corp., lead manager for the offering, said Citibank's Standard Credit Card Master Trust 1991-5 & 1991-6 is one deal, though it has two registration statements.

"It's one deal," said Richard duBusc, a First Boston managing director, adding that he could not say whether it was the year's biggest.

"Technically, this is two deals," said Susan Weeks, a Citibank spokeswoman. At least one news wire service had earlier reported the deal as a single $1.686 billion issue.

For the 1991-5 series, the $650 million A piece carried a 6.25% coupon and was priced at 99.87 to yield 6.322%, or 63 basis points over two-year Treasuries. The $80.5 million B portion carried a $6.50% coupon and was priced at 99.64 to yield 6.689%, or 100 basis points over two-year Treasuries.

As for the 1991-6 series, the $850 million A portion carried a 7 7/8% coupon and was priced at 99.55 to yield 7.961% or 82 1/2 basis points over seven-year Treasuries. The $105.5 million B portion carried an 8.35% coupon and was priced at 99.56 to yield 8.436% or 130 basis points over seven-year Treasuries.

If the deal is considered as one, it may give First Boston the bragging rights for having lead managed the year's biggest offering so far -- bigger than Ford Motor Credit's $1.528 billion deal and Chrysler Financial's $1.482 deal, one analyst said. However, according to Asset Sales Report, last May Citibank completed a deal of the same size with Salomon Brothers Inc. as the underwriter.

One asset-backed trader from another firm said that, First Boston's arguments notwithstanding, the offering is two deals.

"It's two deals luanched on the same day," he said. He added, however, that the whole question amounted to "much ado about nothing."

On a composite basis, yesterday's high-yield market exhibited a good tone and was up 1/4 point to higher in some spots. Chrysler Corp. paper remained strong on a positive earnings announcement. In the high-grade market, the short end was up about 1/8 point, while the long end was down slightly, a trader said.

Several new issues appeared including MCI Communications $250 million of 7.625% senior notes due 1996. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.84 to yield 7.664% or 92 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Baal, while Standard & Poor's assigned a BBB. Merrill Lynch lead managed the offering.

Georgia Power Co. issued $100 million of first mortgage bonds due 2019. Nonrefundable for five years, the bonds were priced at par to yield 9.23%, or 132 basis points over 30-year. Moody's rates the deal Baal, while Standard and Poor's rate it BBB-plus. Morgan Stanley sole managed the offering.

Shearson Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. issued $100 million of 8 7/8% notes priced at 99.664 to yield 8.94% or 180 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the deal A3, while Standard & Poor's rates it A. Lehman lead managed the offering.

Standard & Poor's Corp. assigned a BBB-rating to National Medical Enterprises Inc.'s proposed issue of senior unsecured notes due 1998. The notes are to be issued in a tender offer for up to $30 million of the company's common shares. They are to be issued along with seven-year stock purchase warrants in a transaction that could total $500 million.

Because exercise of the warrants would provide funds to satisfy the obligation, the issue's credit characteristics are similar to convertible debt. The rating does not assume that the warrants will be exercised, Standard & Poor's said.

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