The Strategist

How much will French billionaires donate to restore Notre-Dame?

04/17/2019 - 15:22

French President Emmanuel Macron promised that Notre-Dame de Paris will be restored after a devastating fire. The fundraising has already begun, and Forbes rating participants did not stand aside.

The family of French billionaire Bernard Arno will donate € 200 million to restore Notre-Dame Cathedral after the devastating fire, reads a statement of his company LVMH.

“The Arno family and LMVH would like to express their solidarity at this time of national tragedy, and will assist in restoring this extraordinary cathedral, which is a symbol of France, its heritage and unity,” the statement said. Bernard Arno is the fourth in the list of the richest people in the world according to Forbes. His capital was estimated at $ 76 billion in 2019.

Family of the richest woman in the world and the heiress of L'Oreal Françoise Bettencourt Meyers promises to donate € 200 million for restoration of the cathedral. This was reported by Reuters. The family Bettencourt Meyers ranks 15th with $ 49.3 billion in the list of Forbes billionaires.

Billionaire Francois Pinault and his son Francois-Henri Pinault allocated € 100 million for the restoration of Notre-Dame. The family’s main source of income is Kering company, which owns Gucci and other brands. “This tragedy struck people all over France and beyond, all who appreciate spiritual values,” Bloomberg quotes the statement. “Faced with tragedy, everyone wants to return life to this gem of our heritage as soon as possible.”

The Pinault family stays at 30th place with a fortune of $ 29.7 billion in the ranking of the richest people in the world according to Forbes.

Billionaire Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere (No. 472, $ 4.2 billion) sent € 10 million to restoration of the collapsed spire of the cathedral. Brothers Martin and Olivier Bouygues (No. 568, $ 3.7 billion) will donate the same amount.

American businessman Henry Kravis (No. 317, $ 5.5 billion) and his wife will contribute $ 10 million (approximately € 8.85 million). This is the first major donation from abroad, notes Le Point. Also, a "significant" donation was made by Brazilian businesswoman Lily Safra (# 1717, $ 1.3 billion), Le Point reports. The exact amount is not called.

The Decaux family also expressed their willingness to help - through the JCDecaux corporation under their control, they will provide € 20 million in financial assistance and free advertising space, as well as help from experts in advertising, architecture and finance. The company's founder, Jean-Claude Decaux (died in 2016), was previously a member of the Forbes list.

Another € 100 million for the restoration of the cathedral was transferred by the oil and gas company Total, its executive director and chairman of the board of directors Patrick Pouyanné said. Societe Generale donated € 10 million.

The city hall of Paris will allocate € 50 million, and another € 10 million will be added from the Ile-de-France region budget.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani urged members of the legislature to donate daily wages for the restoration. “As a former resident of Paris, Italian and European, my heart was wounded, like all our hearts, by what happened yesterday in Paris”.

The French construction company Vinci invited other market participants to join forces as part of a common sponsorship project in order to start building restoration as soon as possible. “Partial destruction of the cathedral is an unconditional tragedy. There is nothing to replace wooden beams of the 13th century, which supported the roof. But that part of Notre-Dame that survived the fire should be protected,” the company said in a statement.

President of the French professional football league, Nathalie Boy de la Tour, also promised financial assistance. The amount was not specified.

Apple will also make a contribution, the company’s CEO Tim Cook said. 
British billionaire Richard Branson also responded to the tragedy (No. 478, $ 4.1 billion). “It’s very sad to see the fire in Notre Dame, one of the greatest landmarks in the world. I hope everyone who is now in Paris will take care of each other,” he wrote on Twitter. Branson didn’t specify whether he would donate funds to restore the cathedral.

US President Donald Trump (No. 715, $ 3.1 billion) also commented on the fire: “It is so terrible to watch the fire in Notre Dame in Paris. God save the people of France!” the billionaire wrote on Twitter.

The cost of restoring the cathedral is not yet specified. Reuters, referring to experts interviewed, writes that only an assessment can take a year.