Heineken on Wednesday posted a net profit of 783 million euros ($975 million) for the first half of 2012, as the giant Dutch brewer moves to expand in the lucrative Asian beer market. The Amsterdam-based group\'s sales rose by 4.5 percent to 8.778 billion euros over the same period, and the bottom line buoyed by the sale of its minority stake in a Dominican brewer for 131 million euros, a statement said. Heineken also increased its current direct and indirect stake in Asia Pacific Breweries -- the target of a friendly takeover -- from 42 percent to 44.6 percent, its spokesman John-Paul Schuirink told AFP. Heineken on Friday agreed to a final offer of Sg$53 a share for Singapore\'s APB, the makers of Tiger beer, to fend off a Thai rival and gain control of Asia\'s fast-growing beer market. The Dutch brewer added it had inked a definitive agreement with Singapore conglomerate Fraser and Neave\'s board to \"irrevocably recommend\" the proposed deal to shareholders for F&N\'s entire stake in APB in a transaction worth a total of Sg$5.6 billion ($4.4 billion,3.6 billion euros). Heineken said it has seen a 3.3 percent growth in beer volumes despite a \"difficult economic environment and unfavourable\" weather in Europe, its chief executive Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in the statement. One of the world\'s top five brewers, Heineken was founded in the nineteenth century and produces and sells more than 200 brands of beer and cider including Heineken and Amstel beer and Strongbow cider. The group employs more than 70,000 people worldwide.