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Strong Credit Rating Underlines Ability

Tuesday 16 April 2002

Strong Credit Rating Underlines Ability To Fund Growth Strategy

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, Chief Financial Officer Graham Stuart said today.

Mr 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.

It gives Fonterra the same rating as other Fitch clients such as Telstra, BellSouth Telecommunications, IBM, Carrefour, ASDA Group, Tesco, Reuters and Dow Jones.

“This is an excellent result and confirms Fonterra’s underlying credit strength and the confidence of the rating agencies in the business profile and growth strategy,” Mr Stuart said.

Fitch is one of the three leading ratings agencies in the world, along with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, and was formed in June 2000 from the merger of New York and London based Fitch IBCA and Chicago’s Duff & Phelps. Fonterra chose Fitch as its credit rating agency after consulting with large investors in Fonterra debt and because of its knowledge of both the Australasian and European debt markets.


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