May 24, 2019
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Notre Dame pledges exceed $790 million as BNP Paribas, SocGen join donor list

Paris, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- BNP Paribas and Societe Generale have joined the list of companies and business elite who together have pledged more than $790 million to help rebuild Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral after a devastating blaze, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report made available to Efe on Wednesday.

BNP, France's largest listed bank by assets, pledged 20 million euros ($22.6 million) toward the reconstruction of the Paris landmark.

Societe Generale, another French bank, said it would donate EUR10 million, joining an outpouring of financial support kick-started by two of France's richest businessmen.

Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of luxury-goods titan LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, said his family and the luxury-goods company that it controls will donate EUR200 million, while Kering Chief Executive Francois-Henri Pinault said his family, which controls the LVMH rival, will donate EUR100 million to the effort.

"Faced with this tragedy, everyone wishes to give life back to this jewel of our heritage as soon as possible," Pinault said.

Cosmetics giant L'Oreal, together with the Bettencourt family, and energy major Total joined the big-ticket donors' list, pledging EUR100 million each.

Jean-Jacques Aillagon, who served as France's minister for culture and communication between 2002 and 2004, called on Monday for the Notre Dame Cathedral to be declared a national treasure, which would make donations toward it 90 percent tax-exempt under a law passed during his time as culture minister.

Other French business heavyweights have also stepped up with promises of donations and nonfinancial help.

Orange said late on Tuesday that it will provide technical assistance and facilitate donations, Dow Jones added in a report made available to Efe.

French advertiser JCDecaux pledged EUR20 million for the reconstruction of the UNESCO monument, Credit Agricole said it will immediately release a first donation of EUR5 million, and Capgemini SE said it will put up EUR1 million.

Fimalac CEO Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere has pledged EUR10 million, and Bouygues Chairman Martin Bouygues said he will contribute EUR10 million to the restoration fund together with his brother, Olivier.

Separately, the industrial group's Bouygues Construction subsidiary also said it plans to participate in the restoration project.

dj/hh

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