Trevor Coates, managing director of Australian grocer Foodland, yesterday [Sunday] denied the company had agreed to buy Woolworths New Zealand, the New Zealand grocery business of Dairy Farm International for NZ$700m (US$342m). Coates was responded to rumours that a deal has been competed late last week, after Foodland saw off an offer from competitor Woolworths (a company unrelated to the NZ Woolworths). Coates did not dismiss the possibility that a deal was in the pipeline.