Varners > Colombo, Sri Lanka > Firm Profile

Varners
LEVEL 14, WEST TOWER
WORLD TRADE CENTER, ECHELON SQUARE
COLOMBO 1
Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka > Corporate and M&A Tier 2

Varners has a busy corporate and commercial practice that acts for domestic clients as well as international investors. A number of key international investors have retained the firm to assist them on setting up their operations and local offices in Sri Lanka. Raj Selvaskandan and Mahinda Haradasa head the department that advises on a broad spectrum of issues from corporate financing and capital markets transactions to conducting due diligence on deals and drafting agreements. Other strengths lie in infrastructure projects. Rahal Gunaratne joined the group and regularly advises on foreign direct investments, regulatory compliance, project development and joint ventures. It has also been adding to its ranks at associate level.

Testimonials

‘Focus on solving the client’s problem, risk management solutions, practical guidance for foreign clients on working under Sri Lankan legal environment. Flexibility to meet schedules of foreign clients, focus on risk management, broad focus beyond a particular issue to assure client understands all practical implications, long-term relationship focus. Specifically would like to mention Vinothini Amarasekara’.

‘A world-class team which is well versed working in internationally accepted standards. The individuals at Varners think and act global. Their subject knowledge and out of the box thinking is something which no other law firm in Sri Lanka has ever had’.

They always find solutions to the client’s problem. They are innovative, very friendly and always ready to help at any time‘.

‘Mahinda Haradasa has a wealth of experience in M&A matters, infrastructure projects and high-scale development. He finds legal solutions to all kinds of problems that are very helpful to the clients. He is approachable and his advice is unique and he goes the extra mile for the client. While other law firms were unable to find solutions to our problems he was able to assist us immediately‘.

‘Krishanth Rajasooriyar is a senior associate at Varners and has always tried to find time to respond to our questions whenever we request. He is very helpful to clients and provides immediate solutions to our problems. His drafting skills of agreements are talented and professional. He is a very good negotiator, polite and diplomatic‘.

 

Key clients

Bank of China Limited

Titanium Sands Limited

Colombo City Centre Partners (Private) Limited

Abans PLC

Commercial Credit and Finance PLC

First Graphene Ltd

Capital Metals PLC

LAUGFS Holdings Limited

Cargills Bank Limited

CHEC Port City Colombo (Private) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Colombo City Centre Partners (Private) Limited (CCCP) on a  transaction that includes advising it on the management and financing of a hotel under the “Marriot Courtyard” brand.
  • Retained as Sri Lankan legal advisors in connection with the proposed listing of a company by way of a reverse takeover on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange.
  • Retained by First Graphene Ltd to advise on various matters such as the regulatory framework and legal structure in relation to exploration and mining activities in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka > Real estate and construction Tier 2

Varners has a well-established reputation for its work on a range of real estate matters in Sri Lanka and is involved in several development projects. Recent highlights have included advising on numerous high-rise condominium properties and a number of large-scale mixed development projects. It has also advised on several major public housing schemes as well as projects relating to land reclamation. Raj Selvaskandan is among the key contacts at the firm.

Testimonials

‘In our land transaction, they were able to help immediately and validate title and fix the issues with the title and they were able to negotiate a very good price. They have provided effective solutions and are very helpful. Mahinda Haradasa is an expert in any complex real estate transaction. He provides brilliant and innovative solutions to our problems. He advised immediately over the phone whenever necessary and resolved our questions. He negotiated the best deal for us’.

‘A thorough team of commercial lawyers headed by one of the best in region Raj Selvaskandan. This firm works towards making deals happen of course fighting for and protecting the clients’ interests to the tooth and nail – but they always facilitated us to make the deal happen. Raj is one of the most commercially and practically savvy lawyers you can find anywhere I would say. His presence of mind, going through the detail at the same time not losing the big picture – works very well for us. We have found him to be putting the clients’ interest first before anything else and has the gravitas to get all the parties to see the right path and move in the right direction. Raj’s knowledge of the industry is well respected and sought after‘.

Professional, diligent, practical. They have an exceptional eye for detail in my experience, coupled with real-world knowledge towards the transactions I conducted. Instead of simply leaving everything to be a commercial call, they were able to provide creative solutions to help enhance the transaction and mitigate the issues at hand. One of the long standing issues for real estate transactions in this part of the globe is the establishment of the title pedigree followed by approval from the relevant local government bodies and federal government bodies, for the property. The firm was able to provide a detailed report of the existing pedigree beyond the necessary scope. Detail-oriented, focused, efficient‘.

‘They don’t miss a beat. Rajaratnam Selvaskandan, a senior partner at the firm, oversaw the majority of all my real estate transactions and conducted the operations with precision and practicality. Nilanthi Perera, a partner at the firm, was tasked with the research and due diligence into the actual lands that were being secured and purchased. She, along with her team, were able to provide me with detailed title reports and a complete picture of the lands themselves. Her keen sense, eye-for-detail and diligence are factors that make her integral to any real estate transaction, in my opinion‘.

Key clients

CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd.

Colombo City Centre Partners (Private) Limited

Galle Face Properties (Private) Limited

Phoenix Ventures (Pvt) Ltd

Capitol Towers Limited

42 Residences (Pvt) Ltd.

Makro Developers (Private) Limited

Kings Garden Residences (Pvt) Ltd.

Asia Tractor Lanka (Pvt) Limited

Jaysons Holdings

Fedaa Ghanem- Arasi Resort Pvt. Ltd

Link Natural Products (Pvt) Ltd

Prasanna Kannangara for Jitvan Kannangara

Consolidated Housing (Pvt) Ltd

Hatton National Bank PLC

Egyptian Embassy- Sri Lanka

Work highlights

  • Advising CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd. (CPCC),  through China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which is part of China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC). CCCC is listed on the Hong Kong and Shanghai Stock Exchanges and is the world leader in port design and construction. The Colombo International Financial City (CIFC) is a brand-new city development being built as an extension of the Central Business District of Colombo. The CIFC development is governed by a tripartite agreement between Megapolis and Western Development Ministry, the Urban Development Authority and CPCC. It is the largest FDI project in Sri Lanka and will become the new engine for economic and social development.
  • Advising Colombo City Centre Partners (Private) Limited in relation to a 47-storey mixed use development, comprising a five storey 3,675 m² retail space, a 164-room hotel and 192 residential apartments. The client has sought the services of Marriott International, a leading hospitality company, to manage and operate the hotel segment of the development.
  • Retained by Galle Face Properties (Private) Limited  to advise on a project –  which will consist of ‘A’ Grade premium office space, office amenities, service suites, recreational areas and ample parking situated in the central business district of Colombo. The team has been retained to advise on all matters relating to the development of the project, including advising on Government regulations, project financing, construction law related matters, and project documentation.

Sri Lanka > Intellectual property Tier 4

Varners fields a responsive team that is led by experienced partners Mahinda Haradasa and Surani Wickramaratna. The team represents clients before the National Intellectual Property Office and the courts at all levels, as well as advising on a myriad of commercial issues such as licensing, portfolio management and the IP aspects of transactions. It is skilled at advising on the protection and enforcement of some famous international brands, and the practice has specific sector expertise in a wide range of industries including pharmaceuticals, software and infrastructure. It is also skilled at advising on patents and other areas such as design rights, unfair competition and labelling law.

Testimonials

The team is prompt and provides tailored solutions to complex trademark issues. Surani Wickramaratna is extremely dependable and provides practical and clear advice in the most complicated trademark matters‘.

‘The Intellectual Property Division of Varners is a dedicated team who gives timely and well thought out advice. They are a service oriented and friendly team and attends to our work in a prompt manner. I would recommend this team‘.

‘Excellent IP knowledge not only of Sri Lanka, but also of the region. Extremely proactive, clear explanations. Mahinda Haradasa, Surani Wickramaratma, among others are excellent. Personal attention to IP matters they are handling, very thorough in their approach, clear responses‘.

‘The support by their junior law as well as senior lawyers was tremendous. They stood by me step by step especially at the start when I couldn’t believe what I had to face and they never let up. They were very encouraging. To me this would be their greatest strength. I think attention to detail and caring about their clients is their USP. Trehani and Sahan were my team and they had my back every single time. They were very supportive- I couldn’t have asked for a better team‘.

‘We have been working with Varners on a regular basis in relation to various aspects of trademarks practice viz. search, filing, prosecution, oppositions, renewal, assignments, etc. Varners has been professional and efficient in handling our matters‘.

We have been highly impressed with our association with the team at Varners so far. The team ticks all the right boxes, highly professional, they are customer service orientated, diligent, responsive and dedicated to our clients. The legal advice is technically superior to their competitors in Sri Lanka, and their understanding of the commercial objectives of our clients and how to achieve them is exemplary. The team’s legal knowledge, attentiveness to our client’s matters especially stood out for us. We are confident that the legal services provided by Varners are leaps and bounds ahead of the other local firms‘.

‘We have been working very closely with Mahinda Haradasa and Sahan Perera on our client’s matters. Mr. Haradasa’s leadership ability is evident in all meetings, as is his keen legal acumen and commercial insight into the matter at hand, this is also reflected in the quality of his team. Mr. Perera has handled much of the correspondence between our firms on the matter, and has been highly professional and incredibly responsive throughout. He is clearly committed to the best interests of our client, and his legal abilities are also impressive‘.

Key clients

Crocodile International

TVS Motor Company Limited

Sheshandri Dushinka Subramanian

Under Armour

Miniso Hong Kong Limited

Alkem Laboratories Limited

Incyte Corporation

Compass Capital International Limited

Colombo City Centre Partners (Private) Limited

Brinker International, PLC

Carsons Cumberbatch PLC

Prima Group/Ceylon (Private) Limited

CHEC Port City Colombo (Private) Limited

Bean Media Group Pty Ltd

Pharmaceutical Companies

Work highlights

  • Advising Crocodile International on various contentious and non-contentious IP matters.
  • Representing BEAN MEDIA GROUP PTY LTD in registering its trademarks in Sri Lanka and in a dispute with a local entity.
  • Handling trademark prosecutions and enforcement for Under Armour’s extensive portfolio of marks for apparel, footwear etc in Sri Lanka.
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