French billionaire Bernard Arnault, CEO at LVMH, has confirmed that he, his family and LVMH will pledge a total of $226m (€200m) to the rebuilding work needed after fire engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most iconic and historic landmarks in Paris.
François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of the Kering group, which owns watchmakers Girard Perregaux, Ulysse Nardin and Gucci, will also give $113m (€100m) to the cause.
The companies announced the news this morning as fire crews brought the blaze under control.
The fire broke out just after 12pm EDT yesterday afternoon and continued to burn with enough force to topple the famous spire.
However, despite initial concerns, emergency services have been able to save the cathedral’s famous bell towers.
LVMH, the conglomerate behind TAG Heuer, Zenith and Hublot, outlined French heritage as part of the importance to help with the rebuild.
The brand tweeted: “In the wake of this national tragedy, the Arnault family and the LVMH Group pledge their support for #NotreDame. They will donate a total of 200 million euros to the fund for reconstruction of this architectural work, which is an integral part of the history of France.”
Kering Group also used the Social Media platform as a means of announcing the news.
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Notre-Dame cathedral, the iconic symbol of the beauty and history of Paris, is being scarred by an extensive fire that caused its delicate spire to collapse. Notre-Dame’s towers were saved, but two-thirds of the roof was destroyed. “The worst has been avoided,” President @EmmanuelMacron of France said. “I say to you very solemnly tonight, this cathedral, we will rebuild it.” He also praised the courage of the nearly 500 firefighters tackling the blaze. The cause of the fire remains unknown and no one was killed, but a firefighter was seriously injured, officials said. This is a developing story. Visit the link in our profile to read the latest updates.
Mr Pinault wrote: “The Notre-Dame tragedy strikes all French people, as well as all those with spiritual values and those who care about history and culture.”
He added: “Faced with this tragedy, my father and I have decided to contribute to the funds needed to fully rebuild Notre Dame de Paris, in order to bring this jewel of our heritage back to life as soon as possible.”
The luxury giants joined the likes of Total, the French oil titan, in putting aside huge amounts of funds to help the cause.