Projects and energy in Sri Lanka

D. L. & F. De Saram

D. L. & F. De Saram's corporate practice has considerable expertise in energy and infrastructure projects. It is particularly adept at advising on issues such as concession agreements, finance agreements and other areas such as regulatory and licensing requirements. The team under the leadership of Savantha De Saram and Aloka Nandasena has acted as local counsel alongside international law firms on some major projects. Its key clients are predominantly in the power sector (renewable and traditional energy, generation and distribution) as well as oil and gas, transport, utilities and the social infrastructure sector. Hansi Abayaratne was promoted to the partnership.

Other key lawyers:

Hansi Abayaratne ;Inshira Hanifa


Responsive, reliable and very helpful team providing excellent technically sound legal advice and practical solutions. Hansi Abeyratne, Partner, has been available around the clock to advise and assist us in our projects. She is very prompt in responding and very reliable‘.

The team consists of thorough professionals and their response time is exceptional which sets them apart from other firms. It was great working with Inshira Hanifa and Aloka on a recent project. They were available at all times on a short response time to answer our queries‘.

They have the best legal team in Sri Lanka. Easy to work with and on time deliverables. Our contact points are Aloka Nandasena and Hansi Abayartne. Two extremely talented individuals. Easy to work with. Also smart and hardworking‘.

Key clients

China Harbour Engineering Company Limited

China Machinery Engineering Corporation

CCECC – HPRB – HNRBI Joint Venture (Private) Limited

Adani Port and SEZ Limited

ABB India Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Adani Ports and SEZ Limited on the PPP project to develop and operate the East Container Terminal situated within the Colombo South Harbour at the Port of Colombo. The scope of work involves inter alia reviewing and advising on project documents, advising on applicable laws including foreign exchange laws and regulations, on the Strategic Development Projects Act and licensing requirements etc.
  • Advising China Machinery Engineering Corporation on the expansion of a coal-fired power plant in Sri Lanka as a joint venture with the Ceylon Electricity Board. The scope of work involved a comprehensive review of general and special laws relating to the project including investment treaties, public procurement, foreign exchange laws and regulations, laws and policies relating to IPP projects, LNG importation and infrastructure and other sector specific laws and regulations, tax and project financing, reviewing the project structure and reviewing project documents.
  • Advised ABB India Ltd in relation to a contract executed with Ceylon Electricity Board for the supply, erection, testing and commission for the construction of new grid substations and augmentation of the existing 220/132/33kV grid substation under Clean Energy and Network Efficiency Improvement Project.

Nithya Partners

Nithya Partners is renowned for its expertise in all aspects of project finance, with a track record of deals in sectors such as conventional and renewable energy, telecommunications, transport and logistics. In the contentious space, the firm is also recommended for its advice to clients on disputes in this space, both litigated and arbitrator. Chanaka de Silva  is highly regarded for his work in this area and has advised, negotiated and structured several large infrastructure projects.

Practice head(s):

Chanaka De Silva PC


‘I had fantastic engagement with Nithya Partners team especially Chanaka De Silva PC. He was prompt and gave great inputs to us while finalising a complex Sri Lankan project’.

‘The team stands out in terms of: in-depth knowledge about the sector, experienced, and impressive credentials; responsive and trustworthy; deep understanding about the local regulatory environment and could assist your client to communicate effectively with relevant regulators; open to discuss adjustments to the fee quotes, and could take a flexible approach. ’

‘The team led by Chanaka de Silva pc has rich professional experience. They could bring local and international expertise to the project, and are equipped with international background and local knowledge. They could work with client in a hands on way and deliver legal services in a friendly, collaborative and pro-active way’.

Professional in approach. Understands the industry well. Advised on an overseas project on the Power Purchase Agreements , Implementation Agreement. Mr. Chanaka De Silva PC. Brings in the industry experience‘.

The partners are very knowledgeable in the subject matter and amongst the partners, probably have the most amount of experience in various aspects of litigation related to business and contract related matters. The partner/s I have had the pleasure of meeting/obtaining services from were very approachable, attentive and very thorough in understanding the matter at hand and provided me with invaluable advice and services when the necessity arose‘.

Key clients

Adani Group of India

Iluka Resources Limited

Vidullanka PLC

Gazelle Ventures PTE LTD

Lakdhanavi Limited

Magal Ganga Power Company (Pvt.) Ltd.

John Keells Holdings PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Lakdhanavi Limited from  the evaluation process of the bid, to clarifications and matters related to the procurement procedure and also represented the client in litigation in relation to the awarding of the contract for the Kerawalapitiya dual fuel power plant having an investment value of approximately $400m. The Firm is currently advising the client on the ongoing negotiations with the Ceylon Electricity Board, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the funding agency, in finalising the project agreements and in achieving financial closure.
  • Advised the Adani Group/ John Keells Holdings consortium in respect of the concession for the development of the Western Container Terminal of the Colombo South Port having an investment value of over $800m. The Firm advised and assisted the client in their negotiations with the Government and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. This is a vital investment for the expansion of the Port of Colombo and also one of the largest investments in the country at present.
  • Continues to advise the Australian mining company, Iluka Resources Limited, on the Sri Lankan legal and regulatory aspects relating to its investment in Puttalam Mineral Sands Project, particularly in respect of matters relating to exchange control, mining rights and licensing issues. This is one of the pioneering foreign investments into the mineral sands industry in Sri Lanka.

Tiruchelvam Associates

Tiruchelvam Associates is known for its work in the energy sector and is led in this space by energy law specialist Laila Nasry. In addition it has an excellent working relationship with all regulators and receives plaudits for its work on PPP projects and for its advice on environmental legislation. Senior associate Nirosha Peiris also plays a pivotal role in major projects.

Practice head(s):

Laila Nasry

Other key lawyers:

Nirosha Peiris


‘We consulted Tiruchelvam Associates for their expertise and vast experience in the energy sector. We have found the team’s expertise and professionalism to be exceptional’.

‘Expertise and experience of Laila Nasry, partner in the energy sector were the key factors for us to consult Tiruchelvam Associates for our legal matters. She guided us through company due diligence, drafting several legal letters, regularising the foreign investment, RTI application process, CID process, arbitration process and similar. The precision of her work and her ability to foresee problems and react in a proactive manner were exceptional’.

Key clients

Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka

Fujisun (Pvt) Ltd

Takeda Group of Companies

Pidilite Lanka (Private) Limited

Work highlights

  • Commissioned by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka to draft guidelines on the shifting/removal of electric poles/lines on public roads
  • Advising Fujisun (Pvt) Ltd on the licensing, investment and disputes relating to a Solar Power Project.
  • Facilitating the entry of Takeda Groups’ newest vaccine into the Sri Lankan vaccines market .

Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan)

Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan) is recommended for its work with a range of key national and international clients on various large scale development projects, private-public partnerships and BOOT projects. The practice also garners praise for its work on renewable energy projects with a primary focus on the wind power generation sector. The heads of department are Janani Rajeswara and Pranavan Neelakandan, who both have a wealth of experience in this area.

Key clients

International Finance Corporation


Asian Development Bank

AES Corporation

Hayleys PLC

China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (China)

Lanka Hotels & Residencies (Private) Limited

China National Technical Import & Export Corporation

Keangnam Corporation of Korea

Mustafa Group of Singapore

The Design Group Five International (Private) Limited

Work highlights

  • Continuing to advise Sojitz Kelanitissa Private Limited on a major project.
  • Continuing to advise Keangnam Corporation of Korea on the dispute with the developer in relation to the $60m Condominium Development Project ‘Dawson Grand’ which came to a halt and in which the firm represents the client in a series of litigation now pending in the Supreme Court.