2019 was a year defined by trade tensions, tariffs and political in-fighting, headwinds that show no signs of subsiding. As expected, this environment contributed to an extraordinary level of uncertainty and some weakness in the markets we serve. Despite these challenges, 2019 was a very good year for Eaton and our shareholders.
Our continued focus on organic growth, expanding margins and our disciplined approach to capital allocation paid off. Earnings per share for 2019 were $5.25. Excluding adjustments, earnings per share were $5.761 − up 7 per cent from the prior year2.
We delivered strong segment operating margins of 17.2 per cent. Excluding adjustments, segment margins were 17.6 per cent3, an all-time record and up 80 basis points over 2018. In addition, operating cash flow was $3.5 billion and free cash flow was $2.9 billion4. These results, which were both all-time records, represent growth of 17 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively4. We anticipate 2020 will be another year of strong free cash flow.
We also expanded our share repurchase programme to buy back $1 billion of our shares, which represents 3 per cent of the shares outstanding at the beginning of 2019.
Our repurchase programme, coupled with solid operational performance, clearly created value for our shareholders. Over the past year, our stock price increased 38 per cent and, when combined with our dividend payout, we generated an all-in shareholder return of 43 per cent. We were pleased to see our stock performance begin to reflect the transformation taking place inside our company, and we intend to keep it going.
Our ability to deliver these results during a time of market weakness is strong evidence that our strategy is working. We’ve created better-performing businesses and we’re a better company, but we’re not satisfied. We know you expect more from us and we can do more. The way we’ll deliver more is by continuing the rigorous deployment of the Eaton Business System (EBS). EBS is the standard set of processes and tools through which we run our company. It includes a common set of practices and measures; it’s how we learn and improve; it’s how we achieve the benefit of scale across our company; and it’s how we grow and expand margins. In short, it’s how we differentiate our company from competitors and deliver the stock price you deserve.