Ahh, that would explain it.
Assume from what you're saying NTI did taiwan made lobster's prior to Merlin? Interesting!
Paul like many needed/wanted to fill the gap at a price point and the far east was the option, he was solely responsible for the frames, and N.T.I were simply the Uk importer/distributor for them, unlike the Merlin/lobsters, Merlin licensed the name and apart from the marketing BS, Sadoff had next to nothing to do with it, and went back to concentrating solely on Handbuilt frames and designs.
I think it suited at the time, but im told a sore point in the end.
The seller was spot on with his detail though, and to be fair, given so many similarities/design details to other santa Cruz frames (Bontrager) who he also welded for, and even with it being a Far east version of his early works, its a tidy frame for £70 IMHO, they ride well.