In the course of nearly a century of continuous and co-ordinated growth, the Pirelli Group has achieved in its sectors of activity a high technological standing, thus ranking amongst the more advanced international industries. Meanwhile, the Group has progressively widened its industrial and commercial penetration, chiefly in Europe and on the American continent: it has today 82 factories throughout the world, with 76,000 employees, of whom 42,000 work in Italy. Total world sales of the Group in 1969 were approximately £450 million. Looking ahead towards the 70s, Pirelli evaluated the opportunities opened by wider world markets and by gradual trade liberalisation and, taking into account the efficiency attained by its executives and by its industrial and commercial structures, thought it was time to look at new and wider development targets that find today, in the more and more rapid social and economic evolution of the modern world, imperative motivations of a technical, financial and organisational order. This attitude would also lead to a further development of the product and territorial diversification which has always been a traditional feature of the Pirelli policy. After months of discussions, this strategic choice led the Boards of Pirelli SpA, Societe Internationale Pirelli and The Dunlop Co. Ltd., to agree, in principle, to a union of their operating activities. The Dunlop Co. Ltd. has 128 factories mainly located in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America and 102,000 employees. Its total world sales in 1969 were approximately £490 million.