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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

Offering a service that is ‘consistently goodDentons Cardenas & Cardenas’ eight-strong practice is led by Bernardo Cárdenas, with Eduardo Cárdenas also a key member. The incorporation of Santiago González in the office’s energy and natural resources department has increased access to financings in that sector, as well as growing the firm’s client list. The team acted as local counsel to Exportkreditnämnden, US-Exim Bank and SACE–Servizi Assicurativi del Commercio Estero, as lenders, in the assumption by Ecopetrol of the financing granted to Refinería de Cartagena (Reficar) – originally the guarantor and borrower, respectively – in order to finance the refitting, expansion and upgrade of the refinery. The team also acted as local counsel to a financial institution regarding the PPP financing of a 4G project. Praised for her ‘responsiveness’ and her ‘negotiating skills’ as well as her knowledge Catalina Pinilla was recently made partner. Associate Angela Botía is also noted.

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Corporate and M&A

Within: Corporate and M&A

The Colombian office of a global operation, the ‘excellentDentons Cardenas & Cardenas renders a ‘very professional and knowledgeable’ service covering the full spectrum of local and cross-border corporate activities and transactions, including M&A work involving the Latam region. ‘Highly active’ and strongly praised Mauricio Borrero acted on a dozen M&A deals during the course of 2017, including advising Agrobetania on the $70m sale of the San Carlos 1 business park to real estate private equity fund Pacita. ‘Effective’ and ‘results oriented’, Bernardo Cárdenas is ‘the public face of the firm’; acting in conjunction with Catalina Pinilla, who made partner as of June 2018, he advised IFC on the $383m sale of a 4.87% stake in Sura Asset Management to Grupo Sura. Eduardo Cárdenas is also highlighted and advised Compañía de Puertos Asociados (Compas) on the $136m acquisition of 50% of its shares by Goldman Sachs from Grupo Argos. Competition and dispute resolution partner Ximena Zuleta, and associates Felipe Molano and Angela Botia are also noted. Other clients include Microsoft Corporation, Incofin Investment Management, Ford and International Finance Corporation.

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Energy and natural resources

Within: Energy and natural resources

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas has strengthened its standing in the market with the hire in the past year of a five-strong team from Norton Rose Fulbright led by Jorge Neher, who has over 30 years’ experience in the sector, and including key members Hernán Rodríguez and Santiago González who are ‘well known in the market’. The firm has in consequence expanded its roster of clients to include, for example, Gran Colombia Gold Corp, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Anglo American, Royal Road Minerals and YPF. Other longstanding clients include Frontera Energy and Korea National Oil & Gas Corporation. Bernardo Cárdenas heads the practice – now alongside Neher – and James Valdiri is also noted; however, associate Inés Elvira Vesga is now at Norton Rose Fulbright. The team advised Newmont Mining Corporation on a due diligence process for the acquisition of 19.9% shares of Continental Gold, owner of the Buriticá deposit, a gold project comprised by 65 mining concessions in the Antioquia region. Rodríguez continues to advise Iamgold (after leading the original transaction while still at his former firm) regarding the option agreement for the acquisition of various mining assets.

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Within: Projects

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas’s team is appreciated for ‘the availability of the partners in charge of the project and their detailed knowledge of the transaction’. The team acts on behalf of major multinational clients and represent them before governmental bodies in governmental procurement and on the entire life cycle of their projects. Ximena Zuleta, valued for ‘her responsiveness, in addition to her ability to debug complex problems in simple descriptions and propose practical recommendations’ leads the practice with senior partner Bernardo Cárdenas who has considerable activity in the sector. The practice has also benefited from the experience in project financing of energy experts Jorge Neher, Hernán Rodríguez and Santiago González who joined from Norton Rose Fulbright. Recent matters include advising a construction company on the potential acquisition of a 4G toll road concession. Acciona, TV Azteca, Red Kite Finance and Davivienda are among other clients.

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Within: Tax

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas is ‘excellent’ and provides ‘timely, accurate and effective advice’. The ‘outstandingCamilo Cortés heads the practice with Eduardo Cárdenas and Bernardo Cárdenas both recommended and active participants in tax matters. The team advised Sociedad Internacional de Transporte Masivo on the restructuring of the company’s equity and tax planning regarding depreciation due to the deduction of vehicles. Other clients include Grupo Monterrey, Inversiones Actual, TV Azteca, Inversiones William Zuca and Spring Mobile are also clients. ‘Full-spectrum tax advisorCarmen Sanabria is also noted.

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