Townsends Inc., the Georgetown, Del., poultry processer and four wholly owned subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The Company's operations are expected to continue during the bankruptcy process as it explores its options.

"Since 2008, our company has been impacted by record high feed-ingredient costs on the one hand and low chicken pricing on the other," said Frederick B. Beilstein III, Chief Executive Officer. "The Company's management and its Board of Directors determined that a Chapter 11 filing was a necessary part of the Company’s restructuring. We believe that it will allow us to best serve our stakeholders, including our customers, our vendors and our employees."

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The company also is seeking approval to enter into a $52 million debtor-in-possession financing facility, to enable normal operation of its business, including the timely payment of employee wages and other obligations.

Townsends was founded in 1891 and sold 683 million pounds of poultry products in 2009. The company also operates facilities in Arkansas, North Carolina and Georgia, and its brands include Chef’s Select, Perfect Breast, Pristine Cuisine, Ruby Dragon, Speedy Bird and Zabiha Halal.