(Bloomberg) -- Standard Chartered Plc warned the pandemic and low interest rates will weigh on earnings this year, projecting little growth before a recovery in 2022.Hurt by restructuring charges, the London-based bank on Thursday reported adjusted pretax profit slid 40% to $2.51 billion in 2020, missing analyst estimates of $2.55 billion. Credit impairments more than doubled last year.Income in 2021 is expected to be in line with 2020, though lower in the first half than in the same period last year, the bank said as it announced a $0.09 dividend and a $254 million share buyback. The shares slid as much as 3.3% in Hong Kong.“We remain strong and profitable, although returns in 2020 were clearly impacted by higher provisions, reduced economic activity and low interest rates, in each case the result of Covid-19,” Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters said in the statement.The emerging markets-focused lender has revived cost-cutting efforts that were paused during the pandemic. The bank has in recent months resumed hundreds of job cuts and continues to look for savings.More RestructuringFurther restructuring charges of about $500 million are expected over the next few years, primarily in 2021, “relating predominantly to people and property actions,” the lender said.The results come as speculation mounts over the future of Winters, who in June will celebrate the sixth anniversary of his appointment as CEO. Simon Cooper, who runs the lender’s investment and commercial banking operations, has been tipped as the most likely internal successor, though Chairman Jose Vinals has informally sounded out external candidates for the job.The firm’s market operations tracked the volatility-driven surge that has buoyed Wall Street while profits for retail and commercial banking slid.Profits in China and North Asia, which make up 81% of the bank’s overall pretax profit, fell 16% because of higher impairments.The lender has been forced to push back a target of reaching a 10% return on equity, and now said it expects to a deliver at least a 7% return by 2023.(Updates with shares in third paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.