What happened

Shares of postal solutions provider Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) were up 8.1% as of 3:05 p.m. EDT today. Just like last year, the stock has fallen repeatedly on little or no obvious news. And today it's up -- also on no news.

So instead of talking about "news," let's do some math.

Origami dollar pointing up

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

In last week's investor day PowerPoint presentation, Pitney Bowes hinted that it does not expect to return to growing free cash flow before 2022. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, however, last year Pitney Bowes generated $318 million in positive free cash flow (FCF).

Analysts predict FCF will decline steeply to $216 million in cash profits this year, then to $164 million next year, before perking up to $167 million in 2021. That last number may actually go down a bit rather than up, now that Pitney Bowes has set 2022 as its first year of FCF growth. But for the sake of argument, let's say Pitney Bowes does generate positive FCF of $167 million in 2021, then does the same in 2022.

Now what

Voila! Add those four years together, and you get $714 million in positive cash profit -- or about what Pitney Bowes' market capitalization is today. Absent any change in the stock price, the company could earn its own cash price in just four years' time.

Granted, there's still the $2.5 billion in net debt on the balance sheet to consider, but I have to say that the stock is starting to look intriguing all the same.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.