Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) raised its dividend by 26% on Monday and said it plans to buy back 18 million shares valued at $725 million. 

The move is part of a plan to return $1.4 billion to shareholders as the Decatur, Ill.-based maker of vegetable oil, flour and ethanol predicts improving profits in 2014.

The company that has historically paid out roughly 20% to 25% of its earnings to investors says it now hopes to return as much as 30%, enabling shareholders to "participate more directly in the earnings stream.”

The regular quarterly cash dividend, increased to 24 cents from 19 cents, will be paid on March 13 to shareholders of record on Feb. 20. 

Meanwhile, ADM chief Patricia Woertz said the company will investment roughly $1.4 billion in capital projects next year, with the majority of investments focused outside of the U.S. in high-growth markets.

Shares of ADM were up about 2.16% to $41.21 in recent trade.

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