Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier has raised the possibility of investment in the dairy giant from outside the industry.
His comments come as the farmer owned dairy cooperative continues secret negotiations with its shareholders' council about a restructuring of its finances.
Fonterra pulled out of proposals for investment from outside the industry two years ago amid strong opposition from farmers.
Mr Ferrier says Fonterra could continue to expand without extra capital, although that would be through joint ventures, which he says are not ideal.
Andrew Ferrier says he is confident about the industry's prospects, with or without additional capital for growth.
He says it is up to farmers whether this additional capital comes from them or from outside the industry.