Sri Lanka

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) 

Competition authority: Consumer Affairs Authority

Financial regulator: Central Bank of Sri LankaSecurities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka

IFLR1000 ranking categories: 

Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking, Capital markets, M&A, Project Development, Project finance

Jurisdiction overview

Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon until 1972, is a tropical island nation in the Indian Ocean lying off the southeast coast of peninsular India. It started to open up its economy in the 1970s but the country suffered more than two decades of unrest, corruption and a destructive civil war. After the end of the war in 2009, the country enjoyed a period of economic growth with government-led investment in infrastructure and development. But political uncertainty arose after this year’s election in August when government economic projects were halted in light of political reforms. 

The winning party has pledged to unite under national rather than ethnic or regional lines and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has urged the country to move forward to a brighter future.

The country’s legal system is a mixture of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and Jaffna Tamil customary law. The market is mainly dominated by local law firms.

US-based international law firm Duane Morris is one of the few global players present in Sri Lanka. It had formed an alliance with local firm Gowers International Legal Consultants & Corporate Lawyers through Duane Morris’s Singapore-based joint venture Duan Morris & Selvam.

Candy Chan - Journalist - Asia-Pacific

Financial and corporate
John Wilson Partners

John Wilson Partners in Sri Lanka is active in financial and corporate and project development.

During the research period the firm was busy with regulatory compliance work in the banking and financial services, and insurance sectors.

Client feedback

“Efficient service, especially prompt responses to e-mails, and accurate information. Good advice on avoiding breaking any financial laws and regulations.” – Financial and corporate   

John Wilson

“Prompt response to e-mails and questions. Good advice on avoiding breaking any laws related to the transfer of money.”

DL&F de Saram

DL&F de Saram is active across the financial and corporate space.       

The banking team acts on cross border financing for both domestic and multinational clients. The firm often acts alongside international law firms in advising clients on asset and project financing matters in power, infrastructure, telecommunication, real estate and pharmaceuticals. 

The firm’s capital markets work includes advising clients on shares, debentures, international bond issues, securitisations, and assisting Sri Lankan companies in listing shares and debt instruments on overseas exchanges.

In the projects space the firm specialises in domestic PPP infrastructure projects in power, transport, and infrastructure and has experience in advising on concession and implementation agreements.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      GPV International acquisition of Customer Care & Solutions Holding

•                      Kohlberg Kravis & Co $8.1 billion acquisition of Flora Food Group

•                      Light Rail Transit PPP

 

Client feedback

“Good work product, responsive, and good legal knowledge.” - Banking

“Speedy and in-depth knowledge.” - Financial services regulatory

“Extremely professional, proactive, progressive-minded and solution-oriented law firm.” - Financial services regulatory         

“Very good in structuring the deal. Did a great job in legal due diligence. Partner in charge is very professional, knowledgeable and patient, despite the numerous changes required in the Purchase Agreements.” - M&A

“We have obtained assistance from De Saram mainly in relation to foreign investment, mergers and acquisitions, infrastructure development, construction, real estate, and other sectors. They always deliver on time and are available to fully support us.” – M&A     

“The firm is prompt in responding and providing crisp responses.” - Project development

FJ&G de Saram

One of the oldest and largest full-service firms in Sir Lanka, FJ&G de Saram is strong across the board in the financial and corporate space.

The banking team assists both international and domestic clients including banks, financial institutions, leasing companies, private equity firms, MNCs, government bodies and payment service providers on matters related to debt financing, project financing, syndicated and term loans, and financial services regulatory advice.

On the capital markets front, the firm has experience in advising on an array of matters including IPOs, private placements, bond and rights issues, derivatives and securitisations.

In the projects space the firm advises on matters in sectors such as mining, shipping, oil and gas, renewable energy, infrastructure and transport.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Government of Sri Lanka $2.5 billion dual tranche (6.85% and 7.85%) sovereign bond issue

•                      Groupe Michelin $1.45 billion acquisition of a stake in the Camso Group

Client feedback

“High-quality work; responsive to client needs and practical.” - Financial services regulatory

“Strengths, experienced, connected, and large team.” - M&A

“Sound and practical advice from a firm that offers a wide range of specialist lawyers.” - Project development               

Julius & Creasy

One of Sri Lanka’s preeminent law firms, Julius & Creasy performs consistently well across financial and corporate and project development.

In the banking space the firm has significant experience in advising foreign lenders on providing syndicated loans to the Government of Sri Lanka and to local companies. The firm also advises international banks, investment banks and fund managers on derivatives related transactions. Additionally, the firm specializes in aircraft leasing and acts as local counsel to foreign lessors and financiers.

In capital markets work the firm takes on matters related to a wide range of financial products and transactions. These include options, futures, derivatives, bond issues, IPOs and listings, rights issues, private placements and debentures.

In corporate and M&A work the firm has a special focus on advising global telecommunications and social media companies on local regulatory compliance.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Commercial Bank of Ceylon RS10 billion dual tranche (12% and 12.5%) bond issue

•                      Government of Sri Lanka £39.5 million loan facility

•                      Hutch Lanka Rs11 billion acquisition of Etisalat Lanka

 

Client feedback

“Excellent knowledge, excellent local contacts and airline contacts. Very responsive and reliable.” - Banking

“Well reputed law firm assisted by/consisting of highly qualified and experienced lawyers.” - Capital markets

“Satisfactory service provided. Decisions were easily made following sound legal and commercial advice.” – Restructuring and insolvency

 

Sudath Perera Associates

Sudath Perera Associates is active in the financial and corporate space.

The firm has expertise in inbound foreign direct investments, public-private partnerships, mergers and acquisitions and corporate restructurings. Key sectors of focus include retail, pharmaceuticals, energy, and consumer products.

In banking, the firm advised the likes of EXIM Bank of Malaysia on a project financing mandate.

The corporate and M&A team was busy, in the past 12 months, with several corporate restructuring mandates and buy and sell-side roles on acquisitions.

In the projects space, the firm notably advised Vestas Asia Pacific Wind Technology on the construction of a 100MW wind power farm.

The firm strengthened its capital markets offering with the hire of Suhadini Wickremasinghe as a partner from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      3M India restructuring

•                      Bolton Remote restructuring

•                      Crossbow LKR.919.26 million acquisition of a 61% stake in Polytex Garments