DuPont says it will cut 1,700 jobs in its home state of Delaware but base its future specialty products business here as it prepares for its merger with Dow Chemical.
The companies announced earlier this month that they would join to create a giant chemical producer that will eventually be split into three independent companies.
At that time, DuPont announced a $700 million cost savings and restructuring program but did not specify how many jobs would be impacted or where. DuPont CEO Ed Breen sent a letter to employees Tuesday informing them that approximately 1,700 Delaware positions would be eliminated in the beginning of the year.
DuPont, which has been based in Delaware for 213 years, said it would have preferred to let affected employees know of the news first. But it made the announcement now, amid the holidays, because it is legally required to inform the state by the end of the year of the local job cuts. The company has approximately 54,000 employees worldwide and the restructuring program will ultimately affect about 10 percent of that workforce.
Delaware governor Jack Markell said the announcement of the job cuts is “deeply disappointing.”
“DuPont’s number one asset is its people, and the innovations that the company has produced during its storied history are a testament to the quality of those people,” Markell said in a statement.
DuPont did provide one highlight for Delaware _ that it will base its future specialty products business in the state. The combined Dow-DuPont business will have dual headquarters in Delaware and Michigan, where each company is based, until it separates into three independent publicly traded companies focused on agriculture, material science and specialty products.
It has been the biggest year ever for mergers as companies look to save money and gain a competitive edge. Dow and DuPont expect their combination will cut annual expenses by $3 billion.
“Many Delawareans, including me, have feared that a day like this would come, and now, more than ever, we need to work together to ensure the families impacted by this decision have our support and that we’re doing everything we can to put Delawareans back to work,” Sen. Chris Coons said.
“As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I plan to scrutinize the proposed merger between DuPont and Dow extremely closely,” Coons said. “ I am committed to doing everything possible to help the families impacted by this decision, fight for DuPont pensioners, and ensure that Delaware is in the best possible position to remain the home of DuPont and Dow jobs for years to come. My office is already engaged in these efforts, and is available to assist those in need.”
“This terrible news comes as a punch to the gut as we’re closing out the year. This isn’t about bottom lines or shareholder value for us — it’s about our friends and neighbors whose lives are being turned upside down,” Rep. John Carney said. “DuPont’s steady, reliable presence is something generations of Delawareans have respected, contributed to, and taken great pride in. The delegation and I made clear to DuPont’s leadership that we intend to fight hard to prevent future layoffs, and to keep DuPont’s agriculture business here. We are laser-focused on that goal.
In the meantime, my office will be working to assist those employees and their families who are affected by this very upsetting decision.”
“My heart goes out to everyone affected by the job losses here in Delaware,” Sen. Tom Carper said. “.These DuPont employees are our longtime friends, our family, and our neighbors. At this time of hardship for so many Delaware families, we, as the state’s elected officials, can’t sit back, wring our hands and bemoan our fate. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and work together, and I will continue to work with the Governor and Congressional delegation to do everything we can to help those affected and make sure good job opportunities are available here in the First State.”