The French group Doux, Europe's top producer of poultry and processed chicken, was put into administration Friday after it failed to reach a deal with creditors.
The world's fifth-largest poultry exporter, with clients in 130 countries, Doux had declared earlier in the day that it would halt all payments and turn to a commercial court in Brittany, western France.
"A court-appointed administrator will assist the company's management to finalise a plan on continuing operations in France that will try to save jobs and keep the company going," said Doux, the leading French recipient of EU farm subsidies at 59 million euros ($73 million).
The company employs 10,000 people globally including 3,400 in France.
French officials and the British bank Barclays, which was involved in trying to find a way to keep the company running, issued statements that laid responsibility for the move at the feet of Charles Doux, the company's boss.
According to a statement issued by the ministries of re-industrialisation and agriculture, Doux personally rejected a proposal that would have provided 35 million euros in aid.
"This decision is his sole responsibility," the ministries said.
Barclays said it was "extremely disappointed by the decision taken by Mr. Doux to abandon ongoing discussions," a move it said was "taken unilaterally, without consultation with parties working on a rescue for the company."
But Jean-Charles Doux, a company director and son of the boss, responded by saying that the proposals "were based on short-term solutions that offered insufficient guarantees for continuing operations and preservation of the group's historical regional interests."
Doux fell victim to a rise in farm input prices and increased competition that squeezed already thin profit margins and rendered massive debts unsustainable.
The company said it would draw up a plan to help "strategic suppliers and breeders so they do not suffer any difficulties."
According to a sector federation, 700 to 800 poultry breeders had contracts with the group in France.
Farm unions put the debt of the unlisted company that does not release regular financial results at more than 430 million euros, including nearly 300 million for its loss-making Brazilian subsidiary Frangosul.
Doux reported 1.4 billion euros in sales in 2010.
The Doux family owns 80 percent of the company and BNP Paribas bank 20 percent.