Russian pharmaceutical barons Viktor Kharitonin and Yegor Kulkov have snapped up a controlling stake in a leading domestic manufacturer of well completion and workover equipment, TSS Group, according to reports in Moscow.

Moscow business daily RBK said the two businessmen — whose combined net worth is estimated at $3.8 billion — made the move through their holding and investment vehicle Augment Investments.

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With reported revenues of $127 million in 2020, TSS serves major oil producers, such as Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, Russneft and others in oil and gas provinces of West Siberia and East Siberia.

Kharitonin and Kulkov’s fortune is linked to the growth of Farmstandart — a privately held company founded in 2003 that expanded rapidly via the acquisition of other successful, but smaller, Russian pharmaceutical companies.

Among those acquisitions was a manufacturer of Arbidol — a medicine that became a top seller in the country in the early 2000s as a wonder cure against flu and colds following an aggressive marketing campaign.

Despite its popularity among humble Russians, Arbidol had failed to obtain international recognition. Farmstandart passed its rights to Aribol to one of its affiliates in 2013.

Hopefully, the venture into the oilfield service business will ultimately offer more substance than the Arbidol scheme.