DuPont says it will cut 1,700 jobs in its home state of Delaware and thousands more globally 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.