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The company is present in over 75 countries around the world through subsidiaries, license and joint venture agreements. The Colt Group's headquarters are in Havant, United Kingdom. The Group has manufacturing sites in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. It has approximately 950 employees and an annual turnover of GBP 151.9 Million (2013). Chief Executive Officer is Antoine Ligtvoet.
Colt was founded in 1931 by Jack O’Hea in London. In the 1930s Colt's principal business activity was the development of ventilators for industry. During the Second World War Colt developed a series of blackout ventilators to ensure ventilation could take place in blacked out buildings.
In 1945 the UK Government started a massive rehousing programme using prefabricated houses. These houses were designed without fireplaces to save space, which created the need for an alternative source of ventilation. Colt designed its Constant Flow ventilator to meet this need.
The post-war years also saw the reconstruction of the British manufacturing industry and the erection of new factory buildings across the country. At this time, Colt designed the Sloping Roof ventilator, which lay along the roof slope, reducing installation and maintenance costs. Colt also designed the Clear Opening ventilator for industrial buildings such as foundries. This ventilator design ensured cooler working conditions and natural daylighting inside the factories.
In the 1950s, the advent of large single-storey industrial buildings in the automotive sector required a new approach to fire safety. In 1954 Colt designed and installed the world’s first smoke ventilation system at the Vauxhall factory in Luton, UK. Colt has since sponsored and participated in research programmes to develop the science of smoke control.
In the 1960s Colt began to expand operations to continental Europe, initially through a joint venture in the Netherlands. In the following decades the company has continued to expand into many new markets.
In 1978 the O’Hea family gave Colt shares to establish the Colt Foundation, a registered charity that funds research projects in the field of occupational and environmental health, especially those aimed at discovering the causes of illnesses arising from conditions in the workplace. In its first 33 years of operation it has awarded more than £13.5 million in grants to over 200 projects and supported around 220 students.
In the 1980s Colt adapted its ventilation products to commercial buildings and entered the solar shading market. In the 1990s the company invested in research in the control of daylighting levels and solar power. This led to the design of Shadovoltaic, a combined solar shading, daylighting and electricity generating system for facades and roofs of buildings. In 1990 Colt designed, built and installed the distinctive steel pyramid on top of the skyscraper at One Canada Square in Canary Wharf.
In 2007 Colt purchased Bomin Solar, a company specialising in sunshading and daylighting systems.
Colt participated in the design of the world's first microalgae-based bioreactor facade. Its installation at the BIQ house  at the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg was completed 23 March 2013. This is part of pilot project to showcase a bioreactive facade and is the result of three years of research and development by Colt based on a bio-reactor concept developed by SSC Ltd and design work by Arup with funding support from the German Government's "Forschungsinitiative ZukunftBau"  research initiative.
- Best Factory Awards - Highly Commended: 2012 Judges' Special Award 
- ROSPA Gold Medal Award - 2012 - Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (UK) award for the 8th consecutive year.
Products and services
- Smoke control (including fire ventilation, smoke extraction, car park ventilation, corridor ventilation, staircase ventilation, pressurisation systems, smoke containment)
- Climate control (including HVAC systems and acoustic louvres)
- Natural ventilation
- Solar shading (including sun protection louvres, brise soleil, glass louvres, aluminium louvres)
- Cladding and performance louvres
- Glazing systems
- Design support and project management
- Servicing and maintenance
- Colt Annual Review 2010
- The Sky's the Limit, Nigel Watson
- Breath of Fresh Air, Families in Business magazine, Nov/Dec 2006
- Colt Foundation
- Canary Wharf Group plc
- Bomin Solar GmbH
- "The world's first algae-powered building", Inhabitat.com, 03/05/13
- BIQ House, IBE-Hamburg, www.iba-hamburg.de
- www.bmvbs.de, Forschungsinitiative ZukunftBau
- www.rospa.com, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents