Four private equity firms have been shortlisted to compete in the latest round of the auction for Ranks Hovis MacDougall, Tomkins' food business. They are CVC Capital Partners; Doughty Hanson; Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst; and Paribus. Iceland has announced that from September all its animal products will come from livestock reared on non-genetically modified diets. Marks and Spencer has hired top designers Newell & Sorell ­ the company behind the controversial British Airways tailfin revamp ­ to give it a makeover. Ideas under discussion include dressing staff in fashionable fleeces and greeting customers US style, as well as redesigning store fronts. Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham this week assured MPs that their £90bn merger would not lead to the closure of any facilities in the UK. Perkins Foods and Irish Greencore have called off the merger talks they began on Christmas Eve. Coca-Cola's board of directors elected Douglas Daft as chairman and chief executive officer this week, formalising his position as head of the drinks group. Former chairman Douglas Ivester has retired after 20 years with the company. Leading Scottish independent retailer David Sands has bought two stores from Aberness Foods at North Muirton and Tulloch, both in Perth. This takes Sands' portfolio to 13. Pregnant women and elderly people have been warned to avoid eating cheese, smoked fish and certain pork based products in France after a food poisoning outbreak killed seven people. The Welsh Pantry has won an order to supply all 33 Somerfield stores in Wales with 33,000 pasties and pies a week as part of Somerfield's local sourcing initiative. Robert Wiseman Dairies has signed two construction contracts worth £20m for its Droitwich plant, which will create 500 jobs when fully completed by spring 2001. Crazy 8's, the latest National Lottery instants game, has been launched by Camelot. The scratchcard will be available from March 4. Nestlé has signed an agreement to purchase PowerBar, the leading US manufacturer of energy and nutrition bars. The deal includes PowerBar's Canadian and European subsidiaries. Booker Cash & Carry is closing four depots in Scotland ­ at Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Kirkaldy ­ following its acquisition of Trademarket. Leading Swedish spirits producer Vin & Sprit, which owns Absolut vodka, has acquired a 50% stake in Plymouth Gin, the West Country gin producer. The future of farmers' markets in Kent will be considered at a Kentish Fare workshop in Maidstone on February 28. Garma Foods International, leading supplier of breadsticks in the UK, has bought the £7.5m Kallo Group, giving Garma an entry into the stock cube and organic rice cake markets. {{NEWS }}