Thursday 18 April 2019 12:59 pm

Steel giant Arcelor Mittal commits to Notre Dame rebuild

Steel giant Arcelor Mittal has become the latest multinational to promise help as France tries to lift Notre Dame from its ashes.

The Luxembourg-based company said it would “offer up steel to repair and rebuild the monument.”

Read more: After the Notre Dame tragedy, how much more art is at risk?

Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire at Notre Dame, which is thought to have started on the cathedral’s roof Monday evening.

Firefighters struggled to get the blaze under control, but managed to battle it back from the cathedral’s two iconic towers and save many priceless artefacts from inside.

Estimates for the cost of the rebuild have ranged up to around £8bn.

So far around €900m (£780m) has been pledged by businesses, led by French fashion giants, while several others have offered their services to the rebuild process.

Smoke was still billowing from the smouldering ashes of the cathedral when the first donations started coming in.

Francois-Henri Pinault, the billionaire behind Gucci and Saint Laurent, offered to pay €100m to the efforts on the evening.

Not to be outdone, his rival Bernard Arnault, the boss of Louis Vuitton owner LVMH said he was planning to donate €200m.

He was followed by oil giant Total, pledging €100m, and L’Oreal’s largest shareholder, the Bettencourt-Meyer family, who promised another €200m.

However, their generosity faced pushback from some quarters, with critics asking whether this money could be spent better elsewhere. Conflicts from Sudan to Yemen and causes including Grenfell have all been held up as examples.

Critics have also questioned the motives of the billionaires, saying that France’s 60 per cent tax deduction on donations essentially mean that the public will end up bearing the cost.

Read more: Notre-Dame fire: Paris rules out arson as L'Oreal donates €200m

Arnault today hit back at the criticism, saying that LVMH has already reached the ceiling on its tax deductions, so would not benefit.

“There's some pettiness and jealousy in the air, instead of people thinking about the general interest,” he said.