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Bernardo Cárdenas

Work 571 3137800
Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas

Work Department

Corporate / Merger & Adquisitions, Banking & Finance Mining, Energy & Natural Resources




Bernardo is a partner and focuses on banking and finance, energy & natural resources, mining, projects, and M&A. Major legal directories universally rank him as a Top Tier lawyer. He heads the firm’s Finance practice. One of the most experienced finance lawyers in the market, his experience includes some of the most significant financings in recent Colombian history, such as the largest project finance ever in Colombia (US$3.5 billion), granted by the Export-Import Bank of the United States to Refineria de Cartagena S.A., as borrower and Ecopetrol S.A. as sponsor. His mining experience includes advice to multilateral corporations and multinational banks on syndicated loans to the industry. He has over 25 years of experience, including a spell at a leading US law firm. His client list features leading Colombian banks, and foreign financial institutions, multilateral lenders and borrowers.


Spanish and English


College of Universidad Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario Lawyers. College of Mining and Petroleum Lawyers.


1990- Master in Comparative Jurisprudence. New York University. New York, USA. 1988- Attorney. Universidad Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario. Bogotá, Colombia.


Banking and finance

Within: Leading individuals

Bernardo Cárdenas - Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas

Within: Banking and finance

Recommended for its handling of international transactions, Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas' practice is experienced across an array of different industries but has particular expertise in the energy and natural resources-related sectors. ‘Committed and with excellent negotiation skills’, the team acted as counsel to Frontera Energy on obtaining a $100m revolving credit facility letter to be used to provide letters of credit to fund exploration and transportation commitments in Colombia and Peru. Bernardo Cárdenas and Eduardo Cárdenas are both recommended and co-head the eight-strong department, in which energy head Santiago González is also active; he recently led advice to Gran Colombia Gold on a $98m debt financing. Other 2018 work highlights included assisting Bancolombia and Banco Davivienda on a $67m loan agreement with PA Centro Comercial Nuestro Bogotá for the construction of a commercial venue. The ‘increasingly experienced’ Catalina Pinilla - who made partner in July 2018 - and associate Felipe Molano are also key team members. Clients include Société Générale, Opic, Corredores Davivienda and Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC).

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Competition and antitrust

Within: Competition and antitrust

Led by Ximena Zuleta, who also leads the office’s dispute resolution department, Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas’ practice group handles the full spectrum of competition and antitrust law. The practice welcomed experienced associate Carlos Ignacio Arboleda from Brigard Urrutia in October 2018, but lost senior associate Ana María Ortegón, who departed in April 2019. A healthy caseload saw the team advise Mexichem on the merger control procedure triggered by its $1.5bn acquisition of an 80 percent stake in Israeli irrigation firm Netafim; the firm is also currently acting in a highly significant SIC bid-rigging investigation. Senior partners Eduardo Cárdenas and Bernardo Cárdenas are also active in the field.

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Corporate and M&A

Within: Corporate and M&A

Backed by a global network, Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas has a team of ‘great contributors that put themselves out there’ for the client and ‘quickly’ solve issues. The practice handles the full spectrum of local and cross-border transactions and multi-jurisdictional deals, and has particular expertise in oil, gas and mining matters where the group can call on the participation of Jorge Neher and Santiago González, as well as Bernardo Cárdenas. ‘Good, experienced attorneysEduardo Cárdenas and Mauricio Borrero lead the 33-strong practice group, which recently acted for Asesorías Tyndall in a complex operation in which the company had been selected as a transitory buyer of Distribuidora Andina de Combustibles (DAC) (formerly ExxonMobil de Colombia), as part of the mandatory divestiture imposed by the antitrust authorities on Copec and Terpel’s co-acquisition of ExxonMobil’s operations in Chile, Ecuador and Peru. The team also advised Avicanna as purchaser of majority stakes in two local cannabis companies in what was one of the first transactions in the sector in Colombia involving foreign capital. Catalina Pinilla is also a key member of the team. Other clients include Microsoft, Ford, Alpina and Gran Tierra.

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Energy and natural resources

Within: Energy and natural resources

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas is best known for M&A activity in the mining and oil-and-gas sectors, including transactions involving multiple jurisdictions. Mining is an area of particular expertise with the practice considerably strengthened as a result of the October 2017 incorporation of a team from Norton Rose Fulbright led by Jorge Neher, who has over 30 years’ experience in the sector. He co-heads the 11-strong team with noted practitioners Bernardo Cárdenas and Santiago González. The practice acts on behalf of both financial institutions and operators in seeking financing for projects. Another key member of the practice, Hernán Rodríguez led the advice to Iamgold regarding an option agreement for the acquisition of various mining assets in Antioquia, as well as acting for the miner in a judicial proceeding before an administrative tribunal that could set a precedent concerning popular consultations in the mining industry. Recent matters include assisting Gran Tierra Energy with the acquisition of a participating interest and operatorship in a contract held by Vetra Exploración & Producción, as well as two farm-in agreements for the acquisition of a participating interest and operatorship in two other contracts held by Vetra E&P. Other matters included assisting Consepetro in the competitive process held in Ecuador for contracts by state oil-and-gas operator Petroamazonas. Other clients include Anglo Gold Ashanti, Royal Road Minerals and Gran Colombia Gold. María Margarita Lorduy joined as director of the environment practice in June 2019.

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Within: Projects

Advising throughout the entire lifecycle of projects, Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas primarily acts on behalf of major international clients, assisting them particularly with governmental procurement matters. With over 25 years’ experience in the area, Ximena Zuleta heads a 12-strong team, in which senior partner Bernardo Cárdenas and energy experts Jorge Neher, Hernán Rodríguez and Santiago González are all active. The practice is currently advising a multinational motor company in a public tender process in Bogotá, as well as representing two construction companies in a dispute with a state entity regarding an infrastructure development project. Other 2018 mandates included advising an investment group interested in the acquisition of the shares of a 4G road project concessionaire.

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