EIGHTEEN ISRAELI companies were listed among the 100 most promising companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the latest issue of technology magazine Red Herring, coming in second only to the UK in the number of companies listed. The annual Red Herring contest considers small and medium-sized private companies, with revenue of up to $10 million, that "play a leading role in innovation and technology." This year's competition included approximately 700 companies throughout the EMEA region. Among the Israeli winners were DoubleFusion, a provider of in-game advertising solutions for video games; Genova, which is developing processes to produce energy and generate electricity from biomass; and Targetize Innovative Solutions, which develops Web search solutions on next generation cellular phones. The other Israeli companies that made the prestigious list were: BiolineRx Ltd.; Axerra Networks; D-Pharm; Altair Semiconductor; Bitband Technologies Ltd.; cVidya Networks Inc.; Discretix; Gteko; Mobix Interactive; Negevtech; Power Paper Ltd.; Siano; Speedbit; Voltaire; and Xeround Systems. AFTER FOUR years of negotiations, the three cable companies that make up HOT signed an agreement to merge into one unit. Following an oral agreement the parties reached in February, Matav-Cable Systems Media Ltd., Golden Channels and Tevel Israeli International Communications will combine their financial resources after operating in a marketing partnership until now. HOT has steadily lost market share to Bezeq subsidiary Yes due to its investment constraints, and also competes with Bezeq's in telephone service. HOD HASHARON-BASED Seabridge has won a contract with Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Com to supply its broadband solutions for a â‚¬500m. project to expand T-Com's telephone infrastructure in Germany. Seabridge, a subsidiary of telecommunications giant Siemens, itself a major supplier in the project, said the deal is worth "tens of millions of dollars." PETAH TIKVAH-BASED Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., will provide satellite coverage to 17,500 classrooms in Mexico after it signed a contract with Integradores de Tecnologia, as part of the Mexican Ministry of Education's (SEP) Enciclomedia program. Gilat will provide an 8,500-site SkyEdge VSAT network for the project adding to the network of 7,000 SkyEdge VSATs it already provides in Mexico through a deal it signed earlier this year with a consortium of Mexican technology firms. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY services provider Ness Technologies, Inc., said it had record revenues and profits in the first quarter of the year, boosted by its Eastern European and Indian offshore operations. Revenues at the Tel Aviv-based company grew 21 percent from the first quarter last year to $107m. in the 2006 period. Net Income was $6.3m., 29% higher than last year, with earnings per share at 18 cents. Ness said it added some 1,055 people to its global employee-base during the quarter, passing the 7,000 landmark in its work force. ALSO RECORDING positive earnings for the first quarter, Yavne-based Orbotech Ltd., had first quarter revenues of $101.4m., slightly up from the $100.5m. it recorded in the same period last year. The company, which provides support systems used in the supply chain of the electronics industry, had net income of $14.1m., or 43 cents per share, 33% up from the $10.6m., or 32 cents per share it reported last year.