Rupari Food Services, the producer of branded and private label barbecued meats including Tony Roma's and Butcher's Prime, filed for Chapter 11 protection, to initiate a sale.

The South Holland, Ill.-based company, and its parent and lead debtor Rupari Holding Corp., said in an April 10 statement that it reached a definitive agreement to sell its assets to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Illinois meat maker Carl Buddig and Co.

The sale agreement, a result of a restructuring effort commenced in early 2016, was not filed in court yet so details are unclear. Rupari said it is hoping to close on the transaction within 60 to 90 days.

Debtor counsel Maris J. Kandestin of DLA Piper LLP did not return a request for comment.

Rupari filed its petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington on April 10, listing $50 million to $100 million in assets and $100 million to $500 million in liabilities. Judge Kevin J. Carey was assigned to the case.

Rupari blamed its Chapter 11 filing in court papers on "a variety of both external and operational challenges" which led to a decline in sales. Such issues include a rise in the price of pork due to the Chinese pork epidemic and the livestock virus that affected pork in the U.S. from 2014 to 2015.

"We have worked diligently to overcome our capital structure issues, along with legacy legal issues the company has been struggling with the past few years," Rupari CEO Jack Kelly said in a statement. "We are very pleased with our progress from an operational standpoint, however, the company still faces liquidity issues."

Rupari, founded in 1978, described itself in court papers as a "leading culinary supplier of uncooked and ready-to-eat sauced and un-sauced ribs, barbecue pork and BBQ chicken." The debtor said its primary focus is on the manufacturing and sale of pork ribs, but it operates through four core businesses - prepackaged retail, food service, deli and private label.

The company's products are sold under the Rupari brand name plus under Tony Roma's and Butcher's Prime, and are available fresh, frozen and in the hot and cold deli sections of many retail grocers, according to court documents.

Rupari employs 208 workers at its manufacturing facility in South Holland, court filings said.

The debtor's largest unsecured creditors include the Cook County's Treasurer's Office owed $1.46 million, Danish Crown ($1.2 million), Canammeats ($809,982), Mullins Food Products ($304,078) and Nicholl Food Packaging ($125,413).

Craig Martin of DLA is also debtor counsel.