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Rating: Not Applicable

(Lota does not have a retail presence in the U.S.)

Updated: 09/19/14
Lota International Co. Ltd
6701 Center Dr. W.
Suite 525
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310) 641-1600
(877) 580-5682
Rating: Not Applicable

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China

Lota does not have a retail presence in the U.S.
Lota International Co. Ltd. is a holding company based in Taiwan, reportedly controlled by Allen Wu and Grace Chan. Its principal asset, Xiamen Lota International Co., Ltd. is a manufacturing corporation with manufacturing and distribution facilities in Xiamen, China. The company's primary business since its founding in 1982 has been the design and manufacture of faucets and faucet components for other faucet companies.

The list of faucet companies that buy Lota faucets and faucet components reads like the who's-who of the U.S. faucet industry, including among others.

The company also manufactures store brand faucets for large retailers. For example, many of the

The company's basic catalog of faucets maintained on its international web site is rather uninspiring. But, these are not even a drop in the bucket of the faucets it actually sells. Most of its faucets are ODM and OEM products, designed and manufactured for other companies to be sold under their brands. On its website, it claims…
" We provide a full-service product development consultancy to our clients with an integrated approach. Most of Lota’s clients collaborate with the Design Studio to discuss trends and develop new and innovative product designs. Our product development is supported by detailed market research with both consumers and trade professionals throughout North America."
Its ability to design, engineer, prototype and then produce unique faucets for each of its customers has made it a perennial favorite with faucet companies, especially smaller companies, which are unable to afford such capabilities in house.

Lota has also established a U.S. based customer service and warranty operation to support its faucets sold in the U.S. and Canada.

This was a very smart strategic move since it lifts the cost of providing after-sales support from the companies that buy Lota products, making Lota more attractive as a supplier to U.S.-based faucet companies. It also sets Lota up nicely to begin introducing Lota branded products into the U.S. with the marketing and support infrastructure already in place and operating smoothly. It should help Lota avoid the customer service issues that beset its competitors like Globe Union (Danze) and Kingston Brass.

Lota brand plumbing products, especially compression-style faucet valves, have been sold for years in the U.S., but until recently the Lota name has not been associated with decorative sanitary ware, such as faucets. But, that may be changing. We are starting to see faucets for sale identified as made by Lota. Many Glacier Bay and Pegasus are now identified as Lota faucets. Lota is also starting to showcase its faucet products on its U.S. website, Lota U.S.A., which we think is probably a prelude to more aggressively marketing the Lota brand in the U.S.

Lota is still learning how to play nice in the international marketplace.

In 2000 Lota agreed before the U.S. International Trade Commission not to contest a claim that it had violated a Moen faucet patent, and consented to the permanent banning of some of its faucets from the U.S. market.

In 2011 Mueller Industries sued Xiamen Lota International Co. Ltd. and its U.S. sales subsidiary, Lota USA LLC under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization statute alleging that Lota had bribed one of Muller's executives. Mueller also sued the executive, Peter Berkman, for taking kickbacks from Lota. In the lawsuit, Berkman asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, contending that his testimony and production of documents might expose him to criminal prosecution. Berkman settled by agreeing to pay Mueller a total of $10.5 million in cash and secured promissory notes. Lota and Mueller settled in 2012, with Mueller receiving $5.8 million. Lota, according to its attorney, Neal J. White, P.C., "vociferously" denies doing anything wrong.

Lota makes faucets at every price point and at every quality level. If you want a basic faucet, full of plastic parts, that you can sell for $15.00 on e-Bay, Lota will make it for you. On the other hand, if you want a $1,500 faucet of world-class quality with lead-free brass and a nearly indestructible ceramic disk valve, Lota will make that one for you too. With Lota, you get what you are willing to pay for. The consequence, however, is that it is almost impossible to judge overall Lota quality just from the name "Lota", when you can find the name "Lota". Lota does not brand very many of its faucets.

We think it important, however, that some very well-respected faucet makers rely on Lota for many of their components. These companies are not going to risk their own reputations on inferior components.

In summary, we think Lota has the ability to manufacture a superior faucet, competitive with Globe Union's Danze faucets, and look forward to the day Lota finally launches a retail presence in the U.S. If it debuts with striking designs, it ought to be a formidable competitor, and in any vigorous competition among faucet companies, it's the faucet buyer that wins.