Demand for business application software from SAP appears stronger than ever, with the German company reporting yet another quarter of significant sales growth.

Software license revenue, a gauge of future fees from consulting and maintenance, rose 17% in the third quarter to €691 million (US$877m or £470m as of 30 September, the last day in the period being reported) from €590 million in the same period a year earlier, SAP said Thursday.

Total revenue in the third quarter increased 11% to €2.2 billion from €2.0 billion.

Buoyed by strong sales, net income in the third quarter rose 16% to €388m, or €1.27 per share, from €334m, or €1.08 per share, in the year-earlier period.

In the US, the company's fastest growing market, SAP posted its 16th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.

Third-quarter software license revenue in the US climbed 15% to €228m. License revenue in the Americas was up 19% to €292m.

In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, software revenue rose 14% to €301m, with Germany – SAP's home market – showing a 3% increase.

Software revenue in the Asia-Pacific region was up 22% to €98m. In Japan, an underperforming market for SAP in recent months, revenue surged 51% to €39m.

The figures will have allayed any threat to growth from SAP’s second quarter revenue figures, which were slightly below the company's expected full-year growth range. SAP confirmed this quarter its forecast that 2006 software license revenue should rise between 15% and 17%.