Fonterra's very strong credit rating underlines the company's ability to fund its acquisition and joint venture strategy from the strength of its balance sheet, CFO Graham Stuart said today [Tuesday]. Stuart was commenting on Fitch Ratings assigning Fonterra a long term rating of AA- and a short-term rating of F-1+, both equivalent to last year's ratings by Standard & Poor's of AA- and A-1+ respectively, and meaning that Fonterra has very strong capacity to meet its debt obligations.