East Coast Seafood founder and board member Michael Tourkistas has partnered with Spanish seafood giant Profand to acquire Rhode Island-based seafood group Seafreeze, Tourkistas and a source familiar with the deal told IntraFish.

The deal, which closed two weeks ago, gives Tourkistas 75 percent control over Seafreeze's fishing assets under a new company, Fleet Ventures, while IMV Holdings, a subsidiary of Profand, will control the remaining 25 percent of the fleet, along with the non-harvesting assets of the group, the source said.

Seafreeze was established in 1984 by fishermen Richard Goodwin and Geir Monson, and bills itself as the largest supplier of frozen-at-sea seafood on the US East Coast. Glenn and Kyle Goodwin held ownership of the group prior to the sale, and will remain involved in the business, Tourkistas said.

Seafreeze's fleet primarily harvests squid, mackerel, butterfish and herring in the Western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Its processing operations, Seafreeze Shoreside, offer freezing, processing, cold storage and fishing vessel services.

Antarctica Advisors was the investment bank on the deal.

Spanish giant gets bigger

Grupo Profand was created in 2011 after the merger of companies Congelados Marinos Promar and Frigorificos Frandiño.

Profand is a vertically integrated group: it harvests, processes and distributes frozen seafood products. It has operations across four continents, in South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

It has processing factories in Vilagarcía, Avilés, and Sada in Spain; as well as in Paita, Perú; Puerto Deseado, Argentina; Ziguinchor, Senegal; and Cochin, India.

The company harvests and processes cephalopods including squid, cuttlefish, giant squid, octopus, and crustaceans such as red shrimp.

In 2017, the company acquired a 60 percent stake in Moroccon fishing company Sofinas.

In September 2018, the group inked an agreement with Argentine Newsan Food to integrate part of its fishing business with the aim of growing in Argentina and the United States.

Last year, the Stavis family entered a partnership with IMV Holdings.

Executives from Profand and IMV Holdings were unavailable for comment on the Seafreeze deal.