The combined value of Israel's top 100 companies grew 20 percent to $100 billion in the first nine months of 2005, research company Dunn & Bradstreet said Monday with Teva once again heading its list of the most financially sound companies in the country. "The 'strength' index gives a real indication of the situation of the leading companies in the Israeli economy," said Reuven Kuvent, general manager of Dun & Bradstreet Israel. "The results show the continued improvement of the Israeli economy." The index is based purely on the financial performance of companies between January and September, and factors in revenues, market value, net income and equity of all companies to arrive at the rankings. The combined performance of the 100 companies improved in all four categories, as operating income rose 11% to $70b. for the nine months and net income grew 40% to $7b. Teva was followed by Bank Hapoalim, Israel Electric Corporation, Israel Chemicals and Bank Leumi, respectively, in the top five rankings. Israel Corporation took sixth place, while Oil Refineries (Bazan), Amdocs, Bezeq and IDB Development Corp. completed the top 10 list. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries outperformed the competition in all categories except revenue, where Bazan and Israel Corporation each had higher sales for the period. Kuvent explained that the most prominent sectors in the index were from holding and investment companies, the real estate market and large technology companies traded on the Nasdaq. "The majority of holding companies are publicly traded and owe their growth to the continued positive trend in the capital markets," he said. "Real estate companies are enjoying a reawakening in the market and their performance was boosted by increased participation of Israeli firms in the international market."