International automotive distributor Inchcape plc, chaired by one-time Jaguar head Sir John Egan, boosted net profit for the first half of 2003 by just over 24% to £35.7 million. Operating profit was up by 15.9% to £68.7million and shareholders' dividend up 20.0% at 12.0p per share. In Singapore profits rose sharply and this, together with strong performances in Greece and Australia and improved earnings in the UK and Belgium, more than compensated for the difficulties encountered in Hong Kong due to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.