Sterling Commerce reported net income of nearly $18.2 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up 32% from the year-earlier quarter.

Sterling, a software developer and that supplies software through its telecommunications network for electronic data interchange transactions, earned 24 cents per share, 1 cent better than First Call's consensus estimate.

Warner C. Blow, president and chief executive officer, said 1996 marked the company's fifth consecutive year of 30% revenue growth.

Sterling recently announced it renewed an electronic commerce services contract with Tyson Foods Inc., a Columbus, Ohio-based producer and processor of poultry products. Terms of the three-year deal were not disclosed.

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