Bristol-based MGL Distribution, which trades as McArthur and operated offices and depots in Birmingham, Plymouth, Newcastle, Glasgow and Elgin, appointed administrators after failing to find a buyer.
The business, which started life making shovels for Cornish miners, was a leading supplier of products for livestock farmers, including feed equipment, water troughs and cattle crushes. It also sold playground railings and security fences and gates.
The collapse comes four months after managing director Sam McArthur - the fifth generation of the McArthur family to run the business - completed a financial restructuring backed by turnaround investment business Rcapital.
But with the company continuing to struggle in tough trading conditions, administrators from FRP Advisory were appointed to the firm today and took the decision to cease trading, resulting in the immediate redundancies of 162 of the 183 staff employed.
Some staff have been kept on to assist with the closure process, although FRP has not ruled out the possibility of achieving a sale of the business and its assets in some form.
FRP partner Andrew Sheridan said: "It goes without saying that it is sad and deeply regrettable for a business with such a long and successful trading heritage, with operations throughout the UK, to have to cease trading and close its doors.
"As joint administrators our immediate focus will be to assist the 163 employees who have lost their jobs and provide them with the necessary support to submit timely claims to the Redundancy Payments Service."
Seventy redundancies have been made in Bristol, with 42 in Birmingham, 19 at Coatbridge near Glasgow, nine at Elgin, and 11 at both Newcastle and Plymouth.