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ESET Server security installation fails - error 1603

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installer "ESET Server Security for Microsoft Windows Server; version 8.0.12003.0 for windows" fails with error WIN.1603 on a WS2008 R2 machine.
Installer stays at 0% for a while and then stops and throws the error. It seems the error occurs when trying to install the management agent (ver. 8.1.1223.0), and the installer doesn't even start to install the security product.
Tried to install a previous version of ESET file security (7.3.12206.0): same error.  Tried to install management agent only, same error.

Tried all steps suggested in https://support.eset.com/en/kb7806-error-1603-during-eset-management-agent-installation-8x (copy the installer to local disk, run installler as administrator, restart the server, check that win updates are up-to-date), still getting the 1603 error.
We have another WS2008 R2 server and on that machine the 8.0.12003.0 installed on first try, without issues.
I am running out of options.

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