It's time to look at another possible turnaround idea -- one that has already come up nicely off its five-year lows but could still have some underappreciated operating leverage and overseas growth potential. I speak today of metal-can specialist Crown Holdings (NYSE:CCK).

Does it get more boring than this? I mean, metal cans for food have been around since Napoleon's time and predated can openers by nearly 50 years or so. There's also plenty of competition, including Ball (NYSE:BLL), Aptar, Rexam, and more than a few others. Heck, this market even has the "advantage" of being one in which you can get squeezed between rising steel and aluminum prices while trying to push them through to huge multinational customers.

But it's those customers that are also part of the attraction. Crown Holdings counts Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), and Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) among its beverage customers and Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) and ConAgra (NYSE:CAG) among its food clients. Those are huge companies with fairly stable minimal needs. What's more, because Crown has operations in 43 countries, emerging-market growth could be a major theme for them in years to come.

This is a play on things to come. Revenue growth in the second quarter was a bit more than 1% (though without foreign-exchange movements, it would have been about 2.6%), and volumes weren't all that strong. Gross margin shrank in the face of higher metal costs, and segment income rose only about 2%.

Yet I still see potential here. The company is having a decent amount of success pushing through price increases, and I think the company can reap attractive cash-flow leverage from this business -- cash flow that should be used to pay down a considerable debt load. And don't underestimate the emerging-markets angle -- I own stock in two brewing and beverage companies principally on the strength of emerging-market growth in recent years and the years to come.

These are tricky companies to value, and the easier it gets, the less value that remains as the company's turnaround progress becomes more obvious. Nevertheless, I think there's enough potential in the can here to make it worth serious due diligence by patient, value-oriented Fools.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).