Tyson Foods (TSN.N), a maker of meat and processed foods in the United States, intends to sell its chicken business in China, according to three people with knowledge of the situation. This is the latest instance in recent years of a multinational corporation attempting to exit the nation.

Two of the sources added that the selling process is in its early stages and that the company has recruited Goldman Sachs (GS.N) to provide advice on the sale and submitted preliminary information to prospective purchasers, including a number of private equity groups.

The China poultry business has annual sales of around $1.1 billion, according to one of the people, although it was not immediately clear what valuation Tyson Foods is seeking for it.

Based in Springdale, Arkansas Goldman Sachs and Tyson Foods declined to comment. The individuals declined to be named since the information was private and they did not disclose why Tyson planned to sell the company.

Calls to the Shanghai headquarters of Tyson Foods in China went unanswered.

As a result of its third-quarter revenue and profit falling short of Wall Street estimates, Tyson announced this month that it was reviewing its operations and closing four more chicken plants in the United States.

With weak demand during the COVID-19 epidemic and rising feed prices as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, observers have noted that China’s meat market has grown more difficult. Livestock farm margins have also been pressured in the last two years.

According to bankers, a number of international corporations have sold their China operations or reduced their stakes in recent years since some of them found it difficult to realise the desired profits due to the slower economic growth, fierce local rivalry, or geopolitical challenges in the country.

According to Dealogic statistics, foreign corporations have sold $8.4 billion worth of Chinese assets overall so far this year, down from $13.5 billion in 2022.

In the food sector, American agricultural juggernaut Cargill agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to private equity company DCP Capital to purchase its chicken business in China.

The Chinese infant formula and child nutrition businesses of British consumer goods manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT.L) were sold to investment company Primavera Capital Group in 2021 for an enterprise value of $2.2 billion.

Despite starting the sale of its Friso infant nourishment business in December 2021, Dutch dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina has not yet found a buyer. In July 2022, it transferred ownership of a Chinese infant formula factory to a regional rival, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group (600887.SS).

In an effort to reduce its debt-to-asset ratio, major Chinese feed and meat producer New Hope Liuhe (000876.SZ) informed investors last month that it was assessing its companies and possibly bringing in strategic investors for its poultry and food businesses.

According to its website for China operations, Tyson Foods built its first factory there in 2001 and today has four R&D facilities, six processing plants, and dozens of breeding farms there.

According to the website, the company opened two new factories in June, one in the eastern Chinese city of Nantong that specialises in frozen and heat-processed meals, and the other in the central Chinese city of Xiaogan that specialises in processed foods including cooked chicken and pre-made Chinese cuisine.

Tyson Foods reported $39.5 billion in total revenues for the nine months that ended on July 1 of which $1.9 billion came from the foreign and other business sector, which includes its operations in China.